James Mitchell, Micheal Gudor, and Josh Sherbrooke improve the 3D printer to get ready for SAT team’s 2017-2018 year
Photo By: Giovannie Dang

The SAT team is a well known club at RAHS for being a way for students to get in touch with their aerospace passion. The members have many new plans for the 2017 school year they hope will uphold their reputation and improve it.

CubeSat, a satellite program, is an opportunity in which the members of the team take full pride. Cole Evans, senior and one of the students involved in the making of SAT team, is passionate about the potential that CubeSat holds.

Our CubeSat team was started in 2015 by Eli Mackley (who is now a freshman at [Purdue]), myself, and 5 other students,” said Evans. “It took a while to stabilize, but we are now in the process of designing our own cubesat that will fly into earth orbit.”

CubeSat is a program that encourages students to transcend the normal hobbies of high school students, and really reflect the initial purpose of RAHS.

“Cubesat is a 10×10 centimeter cube satellite,” said Evans. “By standardizing the design requirements, they can be placed in a canisterized deployer and can ride on many different rockets without having to go through a lengthy certification process.”

The purpose of the CubeSat project can aid students’ futures as well as go in depth with the aerospace side of RAHS.

“Many universities have launched them in an effort to have students gain knowledge in the design of spacecraft systems,” said Evans. “They can also be used as an inexpensive testbed for new technologies that may go on larger satellites later on.”

The team over the years has implemented new changes from things they’ve learned over the years. Through these changes SAT has grown from a small club into a well developed and respected team at RAHS.

“The team has grown from the original size significantly,” said Evans. “We’ve also partnered with local aerospace companies such as Planetary Resources, Blue Origin, and the [University] of Washington to mentor students.”

The team has brought in many students together through similar interest. Junior David Hadley is a very active member of the SAT team and is passionate about the purpose of CubeSat.

“SAT team is a way for me to work on hands on projects that are related to upper atmosphere in space,” said Hadley. “Whether that be working towards launching a balloon in the short term or launching a CubeSat in the longer term, being involved in stuff happening in space is something I’m interested in.”

The SAT team has come a long way since it first began making improvements and learning from what they have and have not done. The team is still seeing what they can improve on and what they can add to the program to make it a better experience.

“At the start, we just went at it and started building a satellite,” said Hadley. “That didn’t work because we had no background knowledge on it, so we took a step back and focused on the technical skills needed to build a satellite.”

The SAT team has grown into an unique part of RAHS because of the members involved, the opportunities it has offered to students, and the potential it holds.

“It’s always something cool to talk about at networking events,” said Hadley. “There aren’t that many CubeSat teams out there, not at the highschool level.”

The students on the team appreciate the many opportunities and connections that come with being a part of the club.

“We have kids who are launching with the UW CubeSat,” said Hadley. “It’s presented us a lot of opportunities like going to events and being more involved with the space community. It’s given us lots of connections with planetary researchers, lots of internships that kind of stuff.”

SAT team has made a few new additions to their schedule this year, such as sustaining the team’s stable and positive prospects for the future.

“This year, SAT team is focusing on making the team more sustainable, by passing down knowledge and making sure the team is still moving forward,” said Hadley.

The SAT has made some goals they hope to achieve this year. These goals help the team build knowledge on the subject and allow the team to maintain their current status.

“We should be launching two balloon projects this year,” said Hadley, “one of which should have a 360 virtual reality camera on it that should give us good proof of [a] concept which is eventually helpful for the CubeSat and for getting good 360 footage for marketing purposes.”

Sophomore Mollie Brombaugh is a member of the team and is very pleased with her experiences with the CubeSat program.

“I have loved my experience with SAT team,” said Brombaugh, “I have found that all the members have been really friendly, outgoing, and inviting. It is really fun to work on a large-scale project and learn useful skills. I have made a lot of really good friends and have had a really fun time overall.”

Brombaugh sees the team purpose as not what they have or will accomplish but rather how the members grow with the growth of the team.

“The purpose of SAT Team is not necessarily to build and launch satellites and high-altitude balloons,” said Brombaugh, “but to develop skills and knowledge which will be useful later in life and in future careers. SAT team encourages the growth and change of its members.”

SAT team and its members has improved and remodeled themselves based on their experiences. The team is undergoing changes this year as well attempting to create an environment where learning is a passion.

“Currently, our team is working on building up the skills needed to successfully tackle our goal,” said Brombaugh. “Some of us are working on building up a programming skillset and others are learning more about electronics.”