The International Space Station announced plans to deploy a six-pound, tissue-box-size satellite this week, that was built by a team of engineering students at St. Louis University (SLU), in St. Louis, Missouri.
The team of roughly 45 undergraduate students spent nearly three years building the Argus-2 satellite. The satellite will capture images of Earth and demonstrate how well memory storage devices perform in space.
“It’s been exciting, terrifying and frustrating at the same time,” said Jeffrey Kelley, a senior majoring in aerospace engineering at SLU. “I feel like I’m doing engineering now rather than having to wait until I graduate. There’s so many parts of the engineering process that really can’t be taught or captured in a classroom.”
The project is an opportunity for students to learn how to build a device that can withstand the harsh environment of outer space, said Michael Swartout, a SLU aerospace engineering professor who advised the students.
“Undergraduate students are making the decisions, they’re soldering the boards, they’re putting things together, they’re writing the codes, they’re making it work, and they’re getting up into space and operating it,” said Swartout.
This isn’t the first time Missouri talent has put objects into space. In fact, Missouri-made batteries power NASA’s space program, including NASA’s InSight Lander, which is currently on the surface of Mars.