BY SOFIA BUITRAGO-YEPES
The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program (ICSP) launched IRVINE02 on Monday, December 3, following several weather-related delays.
The satellite, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California on a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, which, according to Cubesat member senior Yarin Heffes, can travel 10,000 km/h and can return to earth intact.
“The way it works is we have our little satellite that conforms to standards of 1U CubeSats, which means that the cube is 10cm x 10cm x 10cm,” Heffes said. “We pack it into a p-pod containing three 1U satellites like our own which gets loaded into an even larger container to be attached to the rocket.”
Many of the CubeSat students live-streamed the launch on Monday.
“Watching our satellite deploy from the rocket along with all of the other satellites was a very touching symbol of all our hard work and dedication finally paying off without a flaw.”
Irvine CubeSat is a program through which students from IUSD High Schools and Beckman High School work together to build a satellite that functions in low-earth orbit with the intention of taking measurements and pictures to continue the exploration of new space technologies.
The program was created in 2015 by Kain Sosa and Dr. Brent Freeze with the intent to inspire the next generation of thinkers, creator, programmers, and space explorers.
The program functions in three primary stages: IRVINE01, IRVINE02, and IRVINE03.
IRVINE01 was successfully launched on November 10, 2018 on an Electron rocket from the Mahia Launch Complex in New Zealand, orbiting Earth once every 92 minutes. IRVINE02 includes a new electric thruster with propellant to adjust its orbit and an optical laser downlink to send data back to Earth much faster. IRVINE03 was selected on March 9th in the ninth round of the NASA CubeSat program and is expected to launch in 2020.
Many students have been working on the project since its beginning in 2015. senior Rojan Javaheri has worked with CubeSat since her freshman year.
“It’s really exciting that I get to be a part of something that professionals do as a part of their actual job even though I’m just a high school student working with other students.” Javaheri said.
Having students from five different high schools work together had some complications, which ultimately taught them integral communication skills.
“Everything all has to fit together like a puzzle, but none of you are actually there every single day together.”
Science teacher Mr. Matthew Bell, who replaced science teacher Mr. Tinh Tran as the CubeSat advisor for the 2018-2019 school year, is proud of the hard work students have put into their work.
“It’s an incredible program and I’m incredibly proud of the students,” Bell said. “There’s not a whole lot of high school students that can say [they have functional satellites in space].”