With advances in small spacecraft, as well as the proliferation of spaceborne technologies for navigation, communications, and scientific research, the capacity for spaceflight and the utilization of its products is rapidly being lowered. In many cases, this has led to real world applications of the products of space science and astronomical research. In this presentation, I will report on the development of small satellite and spaceflight operational capacity at NCU as part of the Center for Astronautical Physics and Engineering (CAPE) funded by the Ministry of Education Higher Education Deep Cultivation Program. In collaboration with international colleagues as part of the International Satellite Program in Research and Education (INSPIRE), we are working to develop small satellites for Earth and Space Science, as well as a project based learning educational curriculum for space science and engineering. This has led to the funded development of four multi-national small satellites that will complement and expand observations of larger satellites. I will describe our experiences in the development of IDEASSat (Ionospheric Dynamics Explorer and Attitude Subsystem) / INSPIRESat-2, the Taiwan funded contribution to this program, and our first foray into spacecraft design and operations.
I will also briefly describe how advances in astrodynamics are being applied to the needs of spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control (GNC), as well as space situational awareness for civil and military purposes. Using the Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystem (AOCS) of FORMOSAT-5 as an example, we will see how uncertainties in orbit determination and propagation illustrate the importance and consequences in our understanding of orbit perturbations in Low Earth Orbit, as well as its real world consequences.