Maple Grove students create satellite to be launched to space

Students working to send satellite into space

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- This is North Dakota's first satellite that is going to be launched into space at the end of December. This small satellite could mean big things for the space industry.

Space is hard, failures happen and the costs can be astronomical to think about. 

The University of North Dakota's OpenOrbiter team created the initial CubeSat designs and is designing the 3D printer payload. 

Michael and Sean Wegerson of Maple Grove are the co-founders of Open Space Frontier Technologies. They, along with their designer Alex Holland, are making small cube satellites that can hold a small payload to bring experiments in to space.

"We are going to be putting in a 3D printer inside the little payload right here to 3D print material straight out. Just to see a proof of concept, can we 3D print in space?" said Alex Holland, Lead Designer, Open Space Frontier Technologies.

3D printing in space could be used for making an antenna, which may be too big to bring along, or creating a part for astronauts to use on a future space mission. 

This cube satellite will travel to the International Space Station at the end of December and be launched from the ISS in January.

Cube Satellites can cost around $50,000, but these students found a way to bring that cost way down.

"We fabricate everything in house so that really brings the cost down and it provides that great hands-on learning experience," said Michael.

The solar panels are assembled using this $15 toaster oven, the body of the satellite was made with this milling machine.

These students are working under Dr. Jeremy Straub who is the faculty professor in charge of the school project. Open Space Frontier Technologies was founded by Michael, Sean, and Alex.  The goal, to further the development of the Cube Satellite and making a design so other schools and universities can replicate their work.

To follow along with their progress visit their website: Open Space Frontier Technologies.



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