Treasure Valley students making history with Idaho's first satellite

Posted at 10:09 AM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 12:09:40-05

After four long years filled with many decisions, hurdles, and delays, Braden Grim is more than ready to watch the satellite he helped build blast into space.  

"I'm excited. I don't really know what to expect. Never done it before, but I'm excited," Grim says.  

The Melba native can claim a piece of Idaho history few can.

Grim, three other undergraduates and two professors from Northwest Nazarene University make up the CubeSat team.  They've created Idaho's first ever satellite.  

"Every engineer needs to have these high five moments in their life. They need to do something that is brand new that they get to name because it's never happened before," says NNU professor Dr. Steve Parke. 

Meet MakerSat-0.  

Its purpose is to test four polymers, essentially plastics, to see how they hold up in outer space.   
The experiment may seem basic, but what they plan to do with the data is truly out of this world.  The team wants to find the best polymer to use in 3D printers on the International Space Station.  That way in the future satellite diagrams could be emailed to the ISS allowing astronauts to print out pieces of a CubeSat, snap them together and send them out into the cosmos saving time and money.  

For that to happen MakerSat-0 needs to go into orbit the old fashion way.  A rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB in California. 

When asked how many hours have gone into the project, Grim just couldn't say. 

"I have no idea. Too many."  
The engineers experienced obstacles and failures along their journey but they never gave up.  

"In all honesty we needed these delays to reach this launch. It all worked out in the end," Grim said.

And now they're just days from knowing if all their hard work, works.  

"We've designed this stuff to do a certain thing and we expect it to do it. That would be considered a success to us," Grim said.  

The rocket carrying the satellite is scheduled to launch Tuesday at 2:47 a.m.  Tune into Good Morning Idaho for live coverage from California starting at 5 a.m.