Thomas Jefferson High School Project – Space Flight

Students at Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology High School in Fairfax County, Va., have a lot of fun at Saturday’s SpaceX rocket launch.

Students at Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology High School in Fairfax County, Va., have a lot of fun at Saturday’s SpaceX rocket launch.

School students built a satellite that SpaceX’s cargo launch will deliver to the International Space Station.

“It wasn’t a kit. The students actually assembled the components of the space class … that’s what graduate students do. That’s what graduate students do,” said Kristen Kuko, director of the school’s robotics lab.

The named satellite is the size of a tissue box TJ Reverband its mission is to measure the effectiveness of iridium radio for satellite communications.



“We’re trying to figure out if this system works when you have a reference point in space,” said Arthur Prudius, a junior and member of TJ Space, the extracurricular lab that built the satellite.

“It basically turned into a full-time job after school. We just call at night and work on code reviews and try to figure out why the circuit isn’t working,” said Pranav Wadi, a junior member at TJ Space.

The student effort, seven years in the making, won’t end with Saturday’s launch, but will continue for months as the students interact with the satellite, which is scheduled to be deployed by the space station crew in January.

“On November 12, we can get licenses for 36 children radio amateurs, and we are working on getting a few more people with… licenses,” Kuchko said.

Although the satellite is safely stored aboard the SpaceX Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft, it has been a rewarding experience for the students so far.

“We really learned to rely on each other and learn from each other. We teach each other and it’s a great experience for all of us,” said Wadi.

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