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High-schoolers sent cube satellite into space aboard Falcon Heavy – Story


– They’re student scientists and engineers, and their project is in space right now.

Tuesday’s early-morning SpaceX launch was the thrill of a lifetime.

Now, the students are waiting for information about the journey.

The students are part of an after-school club.

They built a satellite about the size of a coffee maker.

And at this moment, it’s transmitting data that will be vital for the missions that come next.

The symbol of Merritt Island High School is the mustang, so the students incorporated that into the name of their device – StangSat.

If you want to know what StangSat does, think of a package with the label on it ‘Fragile: Handle with care.’

StangSat gauges how rough of a ride the Falcon Heavy gives. 

It measures shock and vibration.

 That’s useful because designers need to know how sturdy to make their space-ware.  

“And they know how strong and to what parameters to build their satellites, so that they go on to complete their missions in space,” said Isabella Piasecki, a recent graduate who worked on the cube satellite. 

She is eager to see its readings. 

“We made it and it was really incredible.”

Math teacher Tracey Beatovich is the club’s advisor. 

She took over when a science teacher had to leave the club.

NASA mentors and partners with schools on cube satellites.

Many more cube satellite missions are coming.

 And, the way they’re built could change thanks to the data from the StangSat.

“If someone builds the satellite too strong, they’re wasting time, money, materials and space on the rocket, but if they build it too weak, then they’re basically sending up a piece of space junk that’s never going to work.” Piasecki said.

After a long night that turned into an early morning, the students – past and present – say they are still riding high now that StangSat finally went up.



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