Send Your Own Satellite to Space

Send Your Own Satellite to Space

October 25, 2018

You can send your own satellite into space with the help of NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative.This CSLI program makes space research more accessible than ever before in history! A cubesat is a miniaturized satellite for space research and commercial use. It’s about four inches long and weighs about three pounds. The name ‘cubesat’ comes from the cube units used to build the tiny satellites. Each cube measures 10x10x10cm cubic units with a mass of 1.33 kilograms per unit.

A cubesat can easily be built with off the shelf electronics and components and the launch itself costs about $40,000 dollars. This is a great deal considering that a large satellite launch price tag is in the millions. This low cost is part of NASA’s mission with the CSLI program. Low cost technology development for pathfinders supports the advancement of STEM programs in schools and aligns with NASA’s Education Strategic Coordination Framework. NASA keeps the price low by making space for small auxiliary payloads of cubesats to be tacked on to previously planned missions. Makes sense, rocket fuel is expensive!

The overall goal of the cubesat missions is not only to make space research accessible but also to encourage STEM growth in schools. Among those who have successfully launched cubesats through this program include St. Thomas Moore Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia. Students in Pre-K through 8th grade all had a hand in the construction and testing of their satellite.

The satellites accepted into the program and launched have a finite lifespan, eventually falling back to earth in a matter of days, weeks, or years. This is true with the exception of two specific cubesats. Nicknamed WALL-E and Evie, these little guys are on their way to Mars! They are the first two cubesats to leave the earth’s atmosphere and were launched in mid 2018. They will be unloaded near the red planet and then they will support the rest of the journey themselves with solar energy. To date, about 2,100 cubesats have been launched. NASA’s goal in the next five years is to launch 50 cubesats from 50 states! By the 2020’s or 2030’s NASA also plans to launch cubesats as far as Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa.




Also in News

NASA's Key To Space Exploration May Start At Our Own Ocean Floor
NASA's Key To Space Exploration May Start At Our Own Ocean Floor

May 24, 2019

There is an alien world out there that we have yet to thoroughly explore and it’s teeming with life. At depths of 36,000 feet, our own planet’s ocean floor is that mysterious world. We know more about the surface of the moon than what exists in the deepest depths of our oceans.

Read More

Earth's Space Junk Problem
Earth's Space Junk Problem

April 29, 2019

Pollution is a problem, and it’s something we’re made aware of at a very young age by something as simple as being told not to litter. However, an enormous amount of litter that we need to consider is out of our reach, and it’s called space junk. That’s right, there is such a thing as space junk. 

Read More

Event Horizon Telescope Captures Black Hole
Event Horizon Telescope Captures Black Hole

April 10, 2019

April 10, 2019 has been a historic day for the global scientific community. For the first time in history, scientists were able to capture an image of a black hole. Until this point, mankind has never truly seen the image of this phenomena in our universe. We had only observed the effects that a black hole has on the matter surrounding it. This is because the gravitational pull of a black hole is so extreme, even light cannot escape it. However, by capturing the light from the very edge of the event horizon, scientists were able to present this image to humanity.

Read More