Cal Poly Pomona students launch wildfire detection satellite in NASA program – San Bernardino Sun


With the support of NASA, a group of Cal Poly Pomona students are set to launch a miniature satellite designed to scan and identify wildfires from miles away.

Named Bronco Ember, the miniature satellite can autonomously detect, track and log coordinates and send those to fire agencies before a wildfire can spread and burn thousands of acres.

The university’s Bronco Space club is one of three groups and the only undergraduate program selected to advance in the inaugural NASA TechLeap Challenge, earning $500,000 over the course of the year-long competition.

Using an infrared camera, students developed a CubeSat, a miniature satellite about half the size of a loaf of bread, and rigged a special setup to train artificial intelligence to alert if something is burning from afar.

The 3-pound satellite includes a camera and other equipment fit into a small container the size of “a slim shoe box,” according to a Cal Poly Pomona news release.

The Cal Poly Pomona Bronco Space Club testing the Bronco Ember at a hill in Diamond Bar in December 2021. (Photo courtesy Zachary Gaines)


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