A team of high school students contributed a standout addition to the U.S. Air Force’s satellite launch on Tuesday.
Students from Thomas High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Va., designed the first satellite built and tested solely by high school students to be launched, reports CNN. Called the TJ3Sat, the nanosatellite weighs exactly three pounds and measures close to four inches on each side. It took the students seven years to complete the project.
The TJ3Sat is one of a fleet of 29 nanosatellites – also known as CubeSats -- that are the most satellites ever sent into space at one time. The small satellites took off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 8:15 p.m. EST, aboard a Minotaur I rocket, Space.com reports. The Air Force Space Test Program Satellite-3 is also present on the rocket.
CNN reports that the developer and manufacturer of the Minotaur rocket -- Orbital Sciences Corp – explained that once it is in orbit, “the TJ3Sat will allow students and amateur radio users the opportunity to send and receive data from the satellite. Students and other users from around the world will be able to submit text strings to be uploaded to the TJ3Sat website.”