A satellite created by Northwest Nazarene University and Caldwell High School will soon be headed to space after it was selected for NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. Their 3D Printed Satellite, MakerSat-0 will be launched this week aboard a Delta II Rocket. It will begin sending data to earth two hours after launch, if all goes as planned. Students will be able to access the data on an app installed on their smartphones.
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Last year, history was made by a group of students in Idaho who designed, 3D printed and assembled the state’s first satellite. Now, it’s finally time for that satellite to go into space. The students and teachers from Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) and Caldwell High School spent a tremendous amount of time and effort building MakerSat, a CubeSat that was selected by NASA for its CubeSat Launch Initiative, and this week that time and effort will pay off as MakerSat-0 travels into space aboard a Delta II rocket.
MakerSat-0 will fly at an altitude of 800 kilometers and will travel at 17,000 mph as it orbits the Earth in a sun-synchronous orbit, crossing the North and South Poles 14 times a day. Two hours after launch, it will begin sending test data to Earth, which students can access using their smartphones.
3D printing not only went into the making of the MakerSat, it’s one of the main focuses of the satellite’s mission. MakerSat-0 will be carrying half-gram samples of several common 3D printing materials: ABS, PLA, nylon, and PEI/PC Ultem. For the next several years, test data will be collected continuously on the effects that the outer space environment is having on the materials. Since so much 3D printing is taking place already on the International Space Station, and much more is planned for future space endeavors, it’s important to know how well the parts printed in those environments will hold up. MakerSat-0 is also carrying electronics that will collect the data in real time.