Cool Schools: Students send satellite into space after years of work

7:28 AM, Nov 21, 2013   |    comments
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- Some high school seniors from Northern Virginia are making connections with students all over the world and they are doing it from outer space. To complete their work on a small satellite they received a lot of help, and now it's time to give back.

Eight years of hard work passed down from one senior class at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology to the next is about to pay off big time. Students built their own satellite with 6 solar panels on the outsidde and 6 circuits.  

Recently, they got to see their work head to its final destination: outer space. A NASA rocket lifted off from Wallops Island Virginia carrying the 10 by 10 centimeter cube satellite into orbit. They are the first high school team in history to do it. It has always been a college level project.

TJ has been showered with praise before. It has been visited by presidents, honored with international awards, but what makes this project special is that they want to take everyone along for the ride.

On a website, you can request an access code and submit a text for the satellite. Then, the students will put the text on the satellite. While in orbit, it will beam down that text being spoken.

Schools worldwide will be able to send and receive messages from the satellite. Also, TJ's research methods and presentations will be posted online for anyone to use and learn how to do it, too.

A total of 50 students worked on the cube satellite over the years. Corporate partners like Orbital Sciences and Cal Poly Tech helped them reach their stellar goal.

Their next goal is to pay it forward, and perhaps upward. 

You'll be able to hear the messages by logging on to their website or by using a small portable ham radio.  The key here is they want everyone to be involved!

If you have a cool school, send an email to or send a tweet to @mikehydeck.

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