IRVINE — Avadh Patel had never imagined teenagers like himself would be able to create a satellite that would travel in space — until last year.
Now, Patel, a senior at Irvine High School, and his fellow students from Irvine’s six high schools are waiting for their mini satellite to be launched into orbit from a site in India — at the same time they are beginning to work on their second one.
Last week, the group kicked off the second year of its satellite program, calling it IRVINE02. Nearly 150 students, most of whom, like Patel, worked on the IRVINE01 project, are aiming to create an upgraded satellite for next year’s launch.
Called a CubeSat, the satellite is about the size of a milk carton cut in half and weighs less than 3 pounds. CubeSat will travel an elliptical orbit about a few hundred miles from the Earth and take photos of Venus, the moon and stars.
“I felt like I had to return and give back,” Patel said after the kickoff ceremony Sept. 6 at the Beckman Center near UC Irvine. “I felt that it was my job to return and pass down that information.”
— Tomoya Shimura (@OCRTomoya) September 7, 2017
This time, Irvine students are receiving help from an institution that knows a thing or two about rockets and space: NASA. The space agency has selected IRVINE02 as one of 34 small satellites from entities around the country it would sponsor to launch.