NNU students watch InSight landing, prepare for own satellite launch

Posted at 6:43 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 20:43:41-05

Nasa isn't the only one making large advances in outer space. Science students at Northwest Nazarene University watched the landing of the InSight today, in preparation for their own smaller launch coming next year.

"It's really cool to see something like the Insight being launched, and especially using the Marcos, which were CubeSats also," said senior engineering student Julie Cox. 

That may sound like a foreign language to a layperson, but what she's saying is the launch of NASA's InSight has some similarities to work being done locally on a satellite at Northwest Nazarene University.

"So the Marco is about double the size of RFTSat, but it's really cool to see how NASA and JPL are also using cube sats and how NNU is using them too," said Cox.

The Marcos being cube satellite's used in conjunction with NASA's InSight that landed on Mars Monday. 

And engineering students at NNU are in the building stages of a satellite with similar features called RFTSat, which is also a version of a cube satellite.

"A cube sat is called a nanosatellite, so it's a small satellite," said Cox.

A small, relatively cheap satellite used for space research, having been used for low earth orbit for years, but now being used for deeper space missions.

"It just proves that this big of a satellite just passed Mars and we just successfully communicated with it and got all of the data," said senior engineering student Kaleb Davis.

NASA’s landing brings a lot of knowledge and even more motivation to Idaho students.

"NASA, they're building these CubeSats, and it's like NNU, we've got one right here," said Davis.

The students are building the RFTSat with the expectation of launching it into space, with a mission of orbiting the earth, in summer 2019.