A small satellite built by students of Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science an Technology will be hitching a ride on an Orbital Minotaur I rocket out of NASA Wallops Flight Facility later this month.
Weighing just three pounds and measuring just 10 centimeters to a side, the nanosatellite is the product of seven years of work by more than 50 students from Thomas Jefferson. Nicknamed TJ3Sat, it will be the first functional satellite ever built by high school students.
Teacher Adam Kemp developed a course in systems engineering with the help of the Orbital Sciences Corporation. The class guided students through the process of designing and constructing the fully-functional spacecraft.
Input from Orbital engineers was crucial to the project, but the students, between 14 and 18 years old, did much of the heavy lifting themselves.
“The students worked with me and the engineers through the design of all the components that go on the satellite, writing up the software, and then actually constructing it,” Kemp says.
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