By ALEXANDER XU
CubeSat, an Irvine-wide high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, has just begun the year-long process to build a second satellite, IRVINE02. The mission to develop and launch this satellite was introduced at the University of California Irvine (UCI) and was part of the kickoff for IRVINE02, which will be an improvement upon IRVINE01, last year’s design.
The official launch date of the IRVINE02 will be in August of 2018.
CubeSat is a student-led STEM program among six high schools–Irvine, Northwood, Portola, Woodbridge, Beckman, and UHS–whose goal is to build and launch a 1 unit cube into space.
Each school has a team that helps contribute to creating the satellites. In total, over a hundred students from the six Irvine schools work together to build the satellites. UHS’s team is called Team Prime; their part in the project is to work on the framework, camera and file federal paperwork.
“My favorite part about CubeSat is that the project is completely hands-on,” Rojan Javaheri (Jr.) said. “There is no procedure as to what every step should be.”
All six teams collaborate heavily on the project. They communicate with each other via email and social media to coordinate activities.
“A lot of the tasks for the teams overlap and since we all go to different schools, we have to work through problems as a team,” Javaheri said.
Each satellite will carry its own unique payload. Currently on its way to India, the Irvine CubeSat team’s IRVINE01 satellite contains a camera so that the team can take photos of Venus and the navigational stars. The satellite is scheduled to be launched this December.
“We hope to have a successful launch of IRVINE01, and then be able to locate our satellite in orbit,” said Lily Litvak (Jr.) “We want to be able to receive signals from the satellite in space.”
Two more satellites are currently planned for the future; the mission to launch IRVINE02 has already started while the project to develop IRVINE03 has yet to be finalized.
IRVINE02 will share a framework with IRVINE01, but it will come with the addition of electronic thrusters to allow it to maneuver in space as well as a GPS system.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has accepted the model of IRVINE02, which is currently sponsored by Google, Tyvak and the Irvine Public School Foundation (IPSF).
Students say that the program helps develop teamwork and communication skills.
“[Building the satellites] forces us to be creative and innovative thinkers when we are faced with a problem, because there is no guidebook for high schoolers on how to build a satellite,” Javaheri said. “We have to be the ones to come up with the solution.”