Todd Livesay’s class at Robertsville Middle School is waiting to hear back from NASA to see if their proposal has been accepted to the CubeSat Launch Initiative. The students want to build a CubeSat and launch it into orbit, where it will gather data from the growing forest and send it back to a ground station located near the school. They’re hoping to find out in February if NASA will accept the CubeSat as part of its payload to the International Space Station.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has formed a collaboration with the Oak Ridge City School System. Marshall staff members assisted in developing curriculum that incorporated unique NASA resources, then trained teachers to use those resources for a new elective class called NASA Project-Based Learning. Engineers from Marshall also act as mentors to students in the course. Many schools only have this type of material available in an extracurricular setting, if at all.
Hull worked with Livesay to develop the CubeSat project. Once the satellite was completed, the students, who had access to multiple 3D printers to fabricate the CubeSat, presented it at Marshall to Hull and other engineers. If NASA agrees to launch the satellite into space, however, they will build a new one, and they’ll have plenty of time – two years – to perfect it for space travel.
“We sought to invest in our community and influence middle school students by exposing them to exciting STEM careers at NASA,” said Patrick Hull, technical assistant for the Structural and Mechanical Design Branch of the Engineering Directorate at Marshall. “To have had an opportunity in junior high to work with a group of engineers from NASA would have been very motivating to me.”
The invention of the CubeSat has made it possible for anyone to build a satellite, and it’s become a way for students to reach space, working with NASA in hopes of launching. The small cube satellites are easy to make, especially when using 3D printing, and they carry lessons that go far beyond their small size. The students at Robertsville Middle School learned how to build a functioning satellite, how to work with 3D printing, and, if their project is accepted, they’ll learn not only about launching a satellite into space but about how to monitor a forest as it recovers from a fire.
“The value of skills learned by our students in this program spans more than just STEM disciplines,” said Holly Cross, career and technical education supervisor for the Oak Ridge City School System. “The mentors from NASA encouraged our students to talk about their project in a conversational manner rather than memorizing for a presentation. Our English teachers have commented on how their presentation skills have developed and matured as a result of their interaction with the NASA engineers.”
Several of the students in the class say they want to work in science and engineering, and even work for NASA, someday, and Livesay hopes that regardless of their career aspirations, they’re learning skills that will be valuable to them throughout their lives.
“I hope that they’re learning to not be afraid to try,” he said. “To just give it your best shot. To show up. And to try every day and make progress.”
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Sources: Local 8, NASA]
You May Also Like
Delft University of Technology & Maaike Roozenburg 3D Print Chinese Porcelain
China is famous for its blue and white porcelain, delicately and artfully produced and painted. Crafted mainly in the southern Chinese city of Jingdezhen and purchased by travelers visiting the...
3D Printing News Briefs: July 11, 2019
We’ve got plenty of new products to talk about in today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, starting with materials from two chemical companies. WACKER announced new grades of of liquid and...
How do 3D Printed Dentures Stack up when Compared to Milled and Injection Molded Dentures?
In a new study, Korean medical researchers have been looking into the differences in quality and accuracy of several different modern ways to make dentures, with a focus on whether...
Additive Manufacturing Strategies Boston 2019 Speaker Roundup
January 29 to 31st Boston will host the Additive Manufacturing Strategies event which will be a chance for you to learn with and from your peers in medical and dental...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.