Build A CubeSat Satellite with Students & Send it to Space
We're building a CubeSat with students and sending it into space with your name on board and you can talk to it!
Just how much can students explore in the class room? Actually there is no limit! Many of us never thought we'd get any closer to space than a good episode of Star Trek™. Phasers, tricorders and photon torpedos have become tasers, laptops and rovers dashing to distant planets. Now, students can build probes in the class room called CubeSats. Technology is smaller, easier to integrate and can work off lithium batteries and solar panels. In the spirit of past successes, Spaceport Indiana will take the "final frontier" into the class room and teach students how to build their own CubeSat and launch it into space.
Spaceport has pledged to reach into schools and give students the experience of a lifetime. Launching a student satellite into space is the stuff dreams are made of. For every kid who has sat through a science class, staring at the clock, dreaming about something bigger. This is their chance. Putting their hands on technology that would orbit the Earth every 92 minutes at 28,000 KpH. Listening to it talk to them from 400 Km above the Earth.
A CubeSat is a small PICO (10 cm cube) satellite that is built from off the shelf (readily available) technologies and has a specific function. In this program we can select the function based on student submissions. Functions might include communications, RF technologies, collected images, etc. The students would work with Spaceport Mission Specialists in a class room/lab setting to build the CubeSat.
The CubeSat project forces students to work through some very challenging processes. Power management, outgasing, heat/cooling components, communications, surviving launch, function and more. The team of students will learn to depend on each other and work independently to solve all the issues with design and integration.
Spaceport will be the technical lead and help students select materials, work up design, integrate technologies and do the necessary testing. We plan on adding the ability to type a message and have the CubeSat send it back in a voice recording. As the CubeSat passes by, listeners can send a typed message and hear it returned to them. This is exciting for the students, fun for the donors and adds a unique success story to their overall project.
Once the CubeSat is complete, we'll use NASA or ESA (depending on schedules) to get the platform into space. Students will be able to work directly with launch personnel for a unique experience that addresses all the aspects of launch preparation. The launch is anticipated to cost about $8,000.00. Not cheap but better than even a decade ago. It's the single biggest cost in the project.
Once we have completed this project we will document and create a curriculum that can be expanded into more schools nationwide. We'll work to make it more affordable, accessible and fit within the academic requirements/schedules in schools we reach out to. The curriculum will address national science and other standards which are important to students and educators.
We will also document the progress of the program and have a final report written to explain the challenges, successes and any failures. This will lend immeasurable benefit to the curriculum development. That report would be made available to the donors and published to the Spaceport Indiana website.
Spaceport has launched over 300 platforms since 2008! Every launch is special and important to every student that does it! Our high altitude/edge of space flights have included everything from Peeps™ to Angry Bird™. Students experience the hostile environment of space through fun and challenging experiments. Spaceport personnel are well qualified space industry professionals. Past projects include the CATS (Cheap Access To Space) Prize, Google Lunar XPrize, NASA Top Star Program, IMAX/Hubble and others.
We understand the costs associated with the project. We have flown many payloads and will be using equipment built by us and others. Our team has experience with space systems and can share that unique knowledge with students. We have the tools in place already, so what you're donating toward is materials and supplies that students will use, some hardware that is not re-useable and of course...launch costs.
Risks and challenges
Ultimately, the challenge is to get the CubeSat into space. Part of this process is to expect failure and work out the details before the rocket launches. Thankfully we can mitigate a lot of risk by using a well qualified launch company. Students still need to work their best solutions when they build the CubeSat. Will it work when its placed in space? Will the groundstation be able to communicate with it? These are challenges that every payload faces, but a great experience for students pass or fail..hopefully pass!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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