MIAMI (AP) – It looks like a green, high-tech coffee can with tape-measure arms and side solar panels. The contraption contains four separate circuit boards that will measure temperature, acceleration and magnetic fields. It was designed by a team of students at David Lawrence Jr. K-8 School and Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High School, and built by students at Florida International University. And if all goes according to plan, it will be launched into space in mid-2015.
What started out as one volunteer parent’s passion turned into a two-and-a-half-year-long project that produced a fully functional satellite. The project got started when John Escobar, a father of two at the K-8 school, and science teacher Laurie Futterman gathered students for the school’s first ever satellite lab. “One day I saw this banner that said, ‘Sky is the limit,’ and I asked myself why the sky, why not space?” said Escobar, 42.
To help them complete the micro-satellite, Escobar and Futterman reached out to professor Shekhar Bhansali, chairman of the department of electrical and computer engineering at FIU.