Irvine Students Launch Historic Second Cube Satellite Into Space!

SpaceX Rocket

Irvine students successfully launched a second cube satellite, Irvine02, into space aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket today, December 3, 2018, at 10:31 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  This historic launch comes on the heels of Irvine students’ first launch of Irvine01 on November 11.   

This is the first-time ever that students from the same school district have launched two cube satellites in one year and it is the largest satellite ridesharing mission ever launched from the U.S. with 64 satellites from 34 organizations representing 17 countries.  Additionally, it is the first time SpaceX has attempted to send one of its rocket boosters into space for a third time.

Irvine02 is a more advanced twin version of Irvine01, containing electric thrusters and a high power laser for rapid transmission of data down to the Earth ground station. Once in lower Earth orbit, the cube satellite will take photos of stars and other celestial objects. 

To watch a playback of this morning’s launch, including pre-launch programming, visit https://www.spacex.com/webcast.  To watch just the launch, click here

The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, is comprised of IUSD students from Irvine, Northwood, Portola, University and Woodbridge high schools, and TUSD students from Beckman High School.   

“This is an important achievement for our students and the entire District,” said IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker.  “IUSD’s robust science education from grades K-12 incorporates the Next Generation Science Standards, which support education for all students in science and engineering to provide the foundational knowledge for those who will become the next scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians of the future and that future is now for some of our high school students. We hope that all students will see this example and know it’s possible to build and launch a satellite into space as an IUSD student and that they too will be inspired to shoot for the stars themselves.”

Irvine CubeSat STEM Program plans to build 10 more cube satellites all the way through to Irvine12. There will be numerous opportunities for elementary and middle school students to work on future satellites when they get to high school. There will also be opportunities for current high school students. To learn more, visit irvinecubesat.org.

The Irvine CubeSat Program (ICSP) is a project-based learning collaboration between K-12 education institutions, industry partners, non-profit organizations, and parent volunteers whose primary focus is to teach, train, and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, while also creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields. ICSP brings together over 100 students from six public high schools in the City of Irvine, California, whose main objective is to assemble, program, test, and launch a CubeSat into low Earth orbit (LEO) to perform a number of scientific experiments and explore new space technologies. In 2015 Dr. Brent Freeze and Kain Sosa established ICSP with Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF), Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), and Tustin Unified School District (TUSD) to change the way K-12 students experience STEM education.