Young Innovators Collaborate to Build Satellite

Source: Florida International University

An after school program in Miami Dade county is responsible for facilitating the development of a satellite with the help from students across all educational spectrums. After two years of electronic design, testing, processing, and programming, the project is complete and scheduled to launch in mid-2015.

The project was initiated with K-8 students from David Lawrence Jr K-8 Center (DLK8) by robotics and technology teacher, John Escobar, as a creative way to ignite interest in engineering sciences. After finding a local sponsor to cover project costs, it was clear that greater engineering expertise was needed. The project opened up to high school students in a neighboring town at Mourning High School and soon later, college students from FIU College of Engineering and Computing. The program is the first satellite project in the U.S. to unite students from across the complete educational spectrum.

The satellite is a cylindrical shape, similar to a coffee can, with retractable measuring devices on either side. Each revolution around earth will take 90 minutes and it will record speed and temperature readings, as well as send back pictures. The unit will also broadcast a call sign to identifying FIU, Mourning High, and DLK8 enabling radio operators world-wide to hear their signal.

“This project involved many areas of electrical and computer engineering and it has the tight constraint that weight must not be greater than one pound. The satellite includes tiny computers called microcontrollers, antennas, transmitters, receivers, modulators and demodulators. It will fly at an altitude of around one million feet with a speed of 17,500 mph.”

Wilmer Arellano, Senior Design Instructor
Source: FIU College of Engineering and Computing 

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