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Tennessee Middle School Students Will Send a CubeSat into Space


NASA has informed Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that its “RamSat” 2U CubeSat proposal has been accepted for participation in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) for a launch opportunity during 2019, 2020, or 2021. The Robertsville proposal was one of 21 satellites selected or prioritized for participation in the ninth CSLI selection. CSLI provides opportunities for small satellite payloads built by schools and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches. RamSat will be an educational mission to develop and implement a middle school STEM curriculum for building a CubeSat.

“This is such an exciting opportunity for the students!” said Peter Thornton, one of the RamSat team leaders from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “They will now have the chance to design, build, carry out, and own a satellite mission. They will be the mission scientists, the communication specialists, and the logistics experts. They will calculate orbits, learn to aim their satellite camera at selected targets on the ground, radio their commands to RamSat, and receive and interpret the digital data streams broadcast by RamSat, containing imagery and all the other important data gathered onboard. They’ll be working as a team to identify and solve problems, and they will be working with NASA professionals to integrate RamSat into the launch and deployment missions.”

The students’ plan for RamSat is to send a small camera and radio encased in a 2U nanosatellite that will relay data and images from space back to Earth. This will let students study reforestation patterns of vegetation lost in forest fires. The student mission arose in response to a real-world connection they had to the Gatlinburg, Tennessee, fires last year.

“I can’t think of a more exciting project to ignite the students’ curiosity and passion for science and engineering,” Thornton said. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via Oak Ridge Schools




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