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K-8 School Working To Become First To Launch Satellite Into Space

Apr 22, 2013 02:40 PM EDT
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NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative has opened the doors for high school and university students across the nation to get involved in developing cube-shaped “nanosatellites” since it started in 2010. This year, however, marks the first time a K-8 school will be taking part of the initiative and, according to St. Thomas More Cathedral’s teachers, it’s not just the older kids getting involved.

“Creativity comes out in different ways,” Melissa Pore, a technology teacher at the school, told the Sun Gazette. “We bring it to their level. “

The project will require a mobile “clean room” supplied by NASA in order to ensure the needed strict standards during construction.

Overall, the project will cost $10,000 and is funded by ATK Space Systems and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. And while Pore has worked hard to network, attending International Space School, for instance, as the Sun Gazette says, it doesn’t hurt to have parents who work for NASA.

Pore will also be the teacher overseeing the event, having gone through training at the International Space University’s STEM satellite workshop that focused on bringing science and engineering projects into the classroom.

However, it’s not just adults running the show – a total of 10 student-leaders will oversee the satellite’s progress over the next 9 months or so.

As one of those students overseeing the project, Kate Fuller told the Sun Gazette, “Everyone’s really excited.” Fuller then added that as a lover of science, the idea of working on a satellite has been “kind of mind-blowing” for her.

In addition to teaching science, the teachers hope the endeavor will be an effective tool in teaching the students on important life lessons, too.

“The point is to not be afraid to fail – they’re not afraid to take a risk,” Pore said.

Sure enough, the kids, she said, “just jump into” and aren’t afraid to use their creativity.

Ultimately, she said, “It’s their language. They speak technology.”

The next round of selections for the CubeSats initiative will be made in January, at which point St. Thomas More’s students will have to prove that their satellite is not only going to be helpful to research, but that the research it will conduct is only possible in space.

For this reason, the school is working on constructing their satellite in a way that will enable it to take photographs and send temperature readings that will be picked up by a large antennae to be placed at the school.

One example of a nanosatellite developed through the CubeSat Launch Initiative. Courtesy: NASA

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