NNU students' satellite launches on Space X rocket to NASA's International Space Station

Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 23:36:25-04

NAMPA, Idaho — An academic endeavor that is out of this world! A group of Northwest Nazarene University students are thanking their lucky stars for a successful launch of their satellite into space Thursday. Countless trials and errors have all lead up to this one astronomical moment of success for the Nampa engineers.

NNU facultymember Rob O'donahue cheered them on from the Nampa campus.

"To be able to say, 'I launched a satellite into space in conjunction with NASA'-- I know I don't have that on my resumé!"

The four undergrad students responsible for the design watched the launch in-person in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"I'm sure they're just big smiles and all excited," said O'Donahue.

The Space X rocket is holding a satellite they engineered at NNU over the last two years.

"And it's a resupply mission on Space X that will take-- to the International Space Station-- our satellite," he said.

He said it represented a showstopping climax to their dedication and hard work.

"They'll work seven days a week-- sometimes 15-16 hours," said O'Donahue.

Their satellite is unique in that it does radio frequency identification (RFID) tags.

"On the outside of the spacecraft. And so, instead of sending wires through, and having to screw something in to have more power taken away from something else, what they can do is use minimal power, send it to this tag, get the data," he said.

The data is processed and sent back down to earth. And they hope the small and wireless nature of the tags will save costs and add efficiency.

"Because sending stuff into space is very costly. It's very expensive."

NNU engineers will make history again in December when the new and improved MakerSat 1 satellite, which will be the first spacecraft ever to be assembled and deployed in space.