The Science Club at Goleta Valley Junior High has the exciting opportunity to control a satellite and use it to perform experiments 220 miles above the Earth.
The satellites — ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X — were launched from the International Space Station on Nov. 19.
Students are working to raise $3,000 for several ArduSat Education Kits and a week of "rental" time to run their programs on the satellites. The kits will let them create and test programs before running them on the satellite.
Donate to support this project by clicking here. The students will provide donors with updates on the results of their experiments and photos from space.
"We have student mentors from Dos Pueblos High School who will be helping to teach programming while learning about satellites themselves," said Kim Miller, the science teacher who leads the Science Club. "It's a great opportunity for all the kids. We are eager to get started once we've raised the funds. We'd like to start by early December, because the ArduSats are designed to stay in orbit only three to seven months."
The satellites are smaller than a toaster — 10 cm in each direction. Packed into that small space are sensors to take pictures and measure magnetic fields, temperature, radiation and more. The students will decide what types of experiments they want to perform. They were created by NanoSatisfi, an aerospace company that wants to democratize access to space.
As part of the experience, the students will learn to program the Arduino microcontroller board on the satellite using the C programming language. They will meet several days a week after school to learn the fundamentals of programming these satellites and to write and test programs that will collect data from space.
— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.