BLUE Program

Student-led Spacecraft Development

The BLUE Program was founded in 2018 to give University of Michigan Students hands-on experience with spacecraft development. Students at BLUE develop space research payloads and deployable spacecraft that are launched to space. The group is overseen by Prof. Mirko Gamba and assisted by various faculty at the University, but the design and manufacturing of the spacecraft are uniquely student led. BLUE currently has 2 payloads awaiting launch and a 3rd spacecraft under development. An overview of these systems can be seen below.

BX-2 Payload in Shipping Case


BX-2 is a 2U spacecraft developed from 2019-2021. This research payload examines the feasibility of manipulating gas bubbles suspended in liquids experiencing microgravity. BX-2 utilizes ultrasonic transducers to generate pressure gradients that translate the bubble location based on the relative phase of the transducers. BX-2 will be launching with Blue Origin aboard the New Shepard launch vehicle in 2021.


BX-3 is a 2U spacecraft examining the strength of composites that are cured in space. The BX-3 payload will cure a composite in space, then compare the material properties to an identical composite that is cured on Earth. BX-3 will be launching with Blue Origin aboard the New Shepard launch vehicle in 2021.

BX-4 chassis (without components mounted)


The BX-4 spacecraft has been under development since 2020. This 3U spacecraft is build to deploy from MASA's Tangerine Space Machine rocket at an altitude of 100km. The payload is equipped with a computer vision system and attitude control so it can track and image the rocket. This spacecraft has completed CDR and is currently undergoing component integration & testing. If you are interested in joining the BX-4 team you can reach out to

BX-1 Prototype

BX-1 Development

BLUE Team, Summer 2019

Vibration Testing, 2020