Irvine Unified School District students successfully launched a satellite into space on Sunday, November 11. The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, which is comprised of students from Irvine, Northwood, Portola, University and Woodbridge high schools, and students from Beckman High School launched Mission Irvine01 with Rocket Lab. That same day, the team received official confirmation from Rocket Lab that Irvine01 is now orbiting earth every 92 minutes. This is the first launch for the Irvine CubeSat team.
Irvine01, which is known as a cube satellite (CubeSat) is 2.3 pounds and solar powered. While in space, it will take photos of the planet Venus, stars and other celestial objects. The team back here on earth will use the information for research.
The second satellite launch was set for Monday, November 19 at 10:30 a.m. aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. SpaceX announced that it is doing additional system checks on the rocket set to carry Irvine02, Irvine CubeSat STEM Program’s second nano satellite built by Irvine students. SpaceX estimated a 5-6 day launch delay. Irvine02 is a more advanced twin version containing electric thrusters and a high power laser for rapid transmission of data down to the Earth ground station. About 80 Irvine students traveled to the Vandenberg Air Force Base to see the launch live. The launch of Irvine02 was aired on www.spacex.com. It is also available for replay if you are interested in watching this event with your family.
This is an important achievement for our students and the entire District. IUSD’s robust science education from grades K-12 incorporates the Next Generation Science Standards, which support education for all students in science and engineering to provide the foundational knowledge for those who will become the next scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians of the future. That future is now for some of our high school students. We hope that all students will see this example and know it’s possible to build and launch a satellite into space as an IUSD student and that they too will be inspired to shoot for the stars themselves.
Irvine CubeSat STEM Program plans to build 10 more CubeSats all the way through to Irvine12. There will be numerous opportunities for elementary and middle school students to work on future satellites when they get to high school. There will also be opportunities for current high school students. To learn more, visit irvinecubesat.org.
The Irvine CubeSat Program (ICSP) is a project-based learning collaboration between K-12 education institutions, industry partners, non-profit organizations, and parent volunteers whose primary focus is to teach, train, and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, while also creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields. ICSP brings together over 100 students from six public high schools in the City of Irvine, California, whose main objective is to assemble, program, test, and launch a CubeSat into low Earth orbit (LEO) to perform a number of scientific experiments and explore new space technologies. In 2015 Dr. Brent Freeze and Kain Sosa established ICSP with Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), and Tustin Unified School District (TUSD) to change the way K-12 students experience STEM education.
~ Bob Evans, Science Department Chair