Historic Launch Puts Satellite Built By Fairfax Students Into Orbit


It was a historic day at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday night, as a group of current and former students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology celebrated the launch of TJ3Sat — the first satellite built by high school students ever to be launched into space.

Students seize on opportunities

TJ3Sat was just one of 28 small “cubesat” satellites, many built by universities across the country, sent into low Earth orbit Tuesday night. The excitement was palpable in the viewing area in the minutes before the Minotaur I rocket took flight, despite a 45-minute delay.

Few people anticipated the launch quite as much as Thomas Jefferson senior and TJ3Sat Student Leader Rohan Punnoose.

“This is probably one of the most amazing days of my life,” said Punnoose. “This is a life-changing experience.”

Punnoose is just one of the more than 50 students who worked on the TJ3Sat program over the course of seven years.

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