WeissSat-1 CubeSat

The Weiss School STEM Center of Excellence created the Weiss CubeSat Development Team (WCDT) in the Fall of 2015 with the stated purpose of incrementally accomplishing numerous intermediate goals and to fly a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) 1U CubeSat within three years. The WeissSat-1 mission is the culmination of a multi-year process of educating gifted middle school students in three specific threads: Aerospace, Biotechnology, and Mission Management/Planning.

List of 4 items.

  • Preparation

    Weiss School students assembled 1U Raspberry Pi7based emulator CubeSat kits, wrote corresponding python script, and conducted a successful captive-carry flight with the 1U emulator aboard a Generation Orbit mission. The students conducted multiple tethered BalloonSat flights in which they remotely accessed sensors and the onboard camera to download sensor data and imagery via WiFi signals. Finally, the students flew a high-altitude balloon (HAB) with a 1U emulator.
  • Application

    In the Fall of 2016, The Weiss School applied to the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and proposed an ELaNa mission that will orbit a CubeSat from any available launch vehicle. The WeissSat-1, a 1U platform, is designed to collect and transmit sensor data and validate a novel lab-on-a-chip system. The WeissSat-1 is a platform based on the NearSpace Launch Inc. 1U FastBus Structure. This mission was designed to maximize student involvement while also constraining project complexity and costs. Students integrated a Micro Fluorescent Activated Cell Sorter (mFACS) manufactured by Micro Aerospace Solutions, Inc. into the WeissSat-1 CubeSat. This 1U platform will employ a NearSpace Launch, Inc. EyeStar7S2 Satellite Simplex Radio and will utilize the GlobalStar radio downlink, thereby allowing student and parent access to real-time telemetry and sensor data through an Internet web page.
  • Application Results

    The Weiss School received a letter from NASA on February 17, 2017 that indicated that The Weiss School had been chosen by NASA to participate in the 2017 NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. NASA will launch the WeissSat-1 CubeSat satellite containing its novel lab-on-a-chip payload in a 1U student-built CubeSatas an auxiliary payload on a planned NASA mission into space in 2018. The Weiss School was the only elementary/middle school in the United States chosen to participate in the 2017 NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative, a highly selective, small satellite flight opportunity. Thirty-four proposals in the United States were selected to participate: 31 Universities/Research Centers, 2 High Schools, and The Weiss School (elementary/middle school). NASA stated "This initiative is intended to provide viable launch opportunities for CubeSats as auxiliary payloads on planned NASA or commercial space flight missions, or deployments from the International Space Station.” The WeissSat-1 mission at the Weiss School is the culmination rather than the impetus for numerous education and outreach activities and programs.
  • Public Reaction

    Due to the highly prestigious nature of being selected by NASA to launch a CubeSat into space, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson visited The Weiss School on March 11, 2017. Senator Nelson announced to the local community that The Weiss School had been selected to participate in the 2017 NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). Because The Weiss School is the only elementary and middle school in the United States chosen to participate in this  highly selective, small satellite flight opportunity, there was significant positive reaction from the local community. In addition to the visit by Senator Nelson, several media outlets highlighted the accomplishment. This recognition reflects the award-winning, highly advanced, and innovative STEM program that The Weiss School has as part of its six Centers of Excellence.

Aerospace/CubeSat Activities at The Weiss School

List of 4 items.

  • The Weiss CubeSat Development Team (WCDT)

    Participation on the WCDT is open to all Weiss School students during afterschool hours. The WCDT introduces students to themes related to spacecraft hardware, software, operations, and the underlying mathematical principles. Students begin by assembling a 1U emulator and the necessary code to retrieve data from the 1U emulator via a Wi-Fi signal. Students then plan and execute tethered BalloonSat missions, culminating with the planning and execution of a high-altitude balloon (HAB) mission.
  • Aerospace Summer Camps

    Participation in Aerospace camps at The Weiss School is open to any 3rd – 8th grade students who reside in the surrounding community. The camps alternate each week by age group levels, 3rd – 5th grade camps are provided one week and 6th – 8th grade camps are provided the next week. Each camp lasts one week and students learn basic orbital mechanics with an emphasis on connecting Newton’s and Kepler’s Laws to the Geometry of conic sections.
  • Aerospace Elective Course

    The Weiss School offers an Aerospace elective course that is available to all Weiss Middle School students during the school day. The course meets twice a week and focuses on getting to, remaining in, and returning from space. Students learn basic orbital mechanics, calculate Hohmann Transfers, and design interplanetary missions. WCDT CubeSat activities are also incorporated into the Aerospace elective course.
  • Protein Crystallography Workshops (PCW)

    In the Fall of 2015, Weiss School students began participating in workshops to learn techniques that would allow them to prepare and send protein samples to the International Space Station for crystallization. The Weiss School secured laboratory space with The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida and hosted several workshops in 2016. The PCW’s are led by engineers and researchers from Huntsville, Alabama who have extensive experience in flying biological payloads in space.
The Weiss School is a co-ed private school that serves gifted students in PreK-3 through 8th grade in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A Weiss School education prepares students to think analytically and creatively, act socially responsible, live vigorously, and create imaginatively in a warm and supportive educational environment.