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 Merritt Island High School Stangsat Project

Students from Florida’s Merritt Island High School (MIHS) have partnered with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to build a small satellite (CubeSat) called StangSat. The satellite, set for liftoff in late 2016, will measure the shock and vibration of launch. StangSat will use Wi-Fi to relay its data to another CubeSat, which will then pass the data to Earth. Launch environment data collection and in-space Wi-Fi transmission are new experimental frontiers for CubeSats.

NASA KSC provided the StangSat team with spacecraft design recommendations, electromagnetic testing, vibration testing, and lab space. In addition, KSC crafted a structural frame panel and soldered telemetry components for StangSat.

The StangSat team relied on NASA KSC to electromagnetically test their satellite in an environment free of troublesome background electromagnetic interference, according to Tracey Beatovich, MIHS math teacher and StangSat club advisor.

Boosted by NASA KSC’s expertise and capabilities, StangSat passed both its preliminary and critical design reviews, two of the most important milestones in developing a spacecraft. The next step for the students is gathering parts for the StangSat flight unit, a space-ready version of the satellite that incorporates lessons learned from the already-built StangSat test unit.

Beatovich noted that one of StangSat’s greatest rewards is its inspiration to students, adding that the StangSat project has led students to pursue careers in engineering and programming.

“To have these students launching a satellite is incredible,” Beatovich said. “We present to some high-level engineers.”

She explained that StangSat also enables her to better teach real-world applications of math.

For NASA mentors overseeing the project, StangSat is an opportunity to leave a legacy of inspiration.

“When they tell you, ‘I want to be like you,’ that’s very rewarding,” said Kelvin Ruiz, a NASA mentor to the StangSat team.



image of stangsatStangSat Panel

                                                                CAD Model Cubesat Frame

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