Category Archives: Education

Virginia elementary/middle school is building a Cubesat

The low cost CubeSat approach to satellite design is growing rapidly in popularity and over 75 Cubesats have reached space already. Most of these have come from colleges, universities and small companies. Now even a K-8 school is building one: Young students aim to be among first to launch small satellite – SlashGear.

Students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, VA are aiming to be a part of a milestone. The school is looking to become the first K-8 school to launch a “CubeSat” satellite into space. The proposed satellite that the students will build would be four inches long in all directions and would weigh around three pounds.

The project has to be approved by NASA, but if the school gets clearance, the satellite will have a planned launch date sometime later in 2014. The CubeSat satellite that St. Thomas More students have planned will be designed to take photographs and temperature readings, and have them beamed back to the school on Earth.

Int. Space Apps Challenge + Robonaut 2 Challenge + A need for big challenges too

The International Space Apps Challenge is underway this weekend.

The International Space Apps Challenge is an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space. NASA is leading this global collaboration along with a number of additional government collaborators and 100+ local partner organizations.

See the 50 challenges here.  And the locations around the world where the teams are competing.


NASA Robonaut Challenge is also happening this month. It challenges programmers to code a couple of particularly useful tasks for the humanoid-like Robonaut 2 on the ISS.


Ed Wright endorses the modest sized challenge competitions like those above but says NASA should also continue to support important major challenges with big prizes as they did with the Lunar Lander Challenge competition: Robonaut Programming Challenge –



This week @NASA – Antares rocket, Kepler’s exoplanets, etc

This episode of This Week @NASA reports on:

The Antares rocket remains at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0-A at Wallops Flight Facility — awaiting launch on its first test flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS program. Orbital Sciences Corporation canceled the countdown during Wednesday’s initial launch attempt when a data umbilical connection prematurely separated from the rocket. On this demonstration flight, Antares will carry a simulated Cygnus spacecraft to orbit. The real Cygnus will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. Also, Orion’s Progress , Gathering for Impact!, Three More Planets for Kepler , Station Spacewalk, Moonbuggy Preps, Hubble’s Infrared Horsehead and more!

ISS Video: Washcloth microgravity physics

In this video Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on the ISS performs

a simple science experiment designed by grade 10 Lockview High School students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner. The students from Fall River, Nova Scotia won a national science contest held by the Canadian Space Agency with their experiment on surface tension in space using a wet washcloth.

Planetary Science and education in proposed NASA budget

Here are some reports on the planetary science and education parts of the administration’s proposed NASA budget for 2014: