RAHS space projects are out of this world

Senior Andrew Struthers(left) and Sophomore Carson Klein (right) are working on two Raspberry Pi’s that simulate the RAHS board and the UW system to test CAN communication and picture sending.
Photo By: Sam Hart

This year two RAHS projects will be sent into orbit. One of the projects is from the after school club Satellite Club (SAT Club). SAT Club has been working with the University of Washington to launch a satellite into space. The satellite needs to be finalized before 1 Aug. 2018 for NASA review and the launch will then take place near the end of 2018.

Senior Andrew Struthers joined SAT Club when it was formed. This year he has been working with his team on creating a satellite to photograph different parts of the Earth. Struthers hopes the student-made satellite will be able to complete its given tasks.

“The board is going to take pictures of the earth from low Earth orbit and send them back to Earth,” said Struthers. “The board is non-professionally made, the software is all written by students, and every part of the project is under student control. Hopefully, if everything works right, we will be able to take our own pictures of Earth.”

Struthers joined the SAT Club because he realized it benefits his STEM skills and he can use those to his advantage later in the future.

“I decided to join this club because it provides me the perfect opportunity to advance my passion in the STEM field. I have gotten the opportunity to code and work on an actual project, which has taught me many things about software,” said Struthers. “These skills that I have gained in SAT Club will help me in college and my future careers.”

Personally, Struthers feels like joining SAT Club enhances his technical and project skills.

“I gained many different skills from this project, including being able to stay focused on a single project for a long amount of time. I have also learned many valuable things including data handling and software communication,” said Struthers. “I have also learned about working on a project where deadlines and other parts of the project are being held up by something besides myself, and I’ve learned how to deal with the frustrations that [it] brings.”

An additional project that is being launched into space is from the Aerospace Engineering class taught by Scott McComb. McComb decided to launch high-altitude weather balloons with his class over the Memorial Day weekend. The launch for the first balloon will take place near Vantage, Washington. McComb was inspired to do this project after working at the rocket company Blue Origin.

“Last summer, I worked at Blue Origin to help educators break down barriers to launching materials to space,” said McComb. “Since Flight by Design is already working with Blue Origin at our school, I decided it would be fun to use high-altitude weather balloons to excite students about engineering and aerospace.”

Freshman Etnna Elizalde-Castaneda is in Aerospace Engineering and her part on the team is to deal with sound and how it works with fire.  

“My team and I are doing a sound fire suppression system,” said Elizalde-Castaneda. “It amazes me how sounds or bases [chemicals that put out fires] that we may not be able to feel or hear very well can put out flames very easily.”

Elizalde-Castaneda decided this was a good elective that will help her in the future.

“I chose to take this class because I am interested in engineering and it’s a career I would like to pursue and I believe that it’s a potential field I could work in,” said Elizalde-Castaneda. “I came in wanting to learn CAD and more about electrical [fields].”

The balloon project McComb has created for his class has a lot of benefits for the students

“Engineers make dreams turn into reality,” said McComb. “It’s exciting to create something from nothing and fly it to space!”

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