GREATER D.C. AREA (WDVM) — Student-built satellites were launched into space this past weekend on a Northrop Grumman rocket.
The global aerospace and technology company partnered with Virginia Space to give students the opportunity to launch student-built satellites into orbit.
Students from George Mason, George Washington and American Universities watched via live stream as their ThinSats (small satellites developed by STEM students) launched from Wallops Island.
The students spent roughly two semesters designing and building the satellites before the launch on Saturday.
“To see it go from just a design, just an idea going through different phases, and then finally it being integrated and going up on that rocket, it was amazing,” said George Mason University student, Jay Deorukhkar. “I was with my family, we were watching and I was trying to keep my cool until the rocket finally just started…that’s when I just lost it.”
Piotr Pachowicz, a professor at George Mason University who oversees the program, says that the launch is just the beginning.
“We have big plans going forward. We are going to build our own platform, which will be bigger, and it’s much more complicated. It will take a couple of years,” said Pachowicz.
The ThinSats will collect data over the next few days in extreme low earth orbit.