Satellite STEM Program Expands Its Reach from Space to Earth

One company plans to use new funding to reach more schools and conduct new kinds of experiments.

A satellite company is taking classroom science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiments to new heights, thanks to a boost in capital.

Ardusat empowers students to explore space from their classrooms, learning directly about the universe from small, cube-shaped satellites hovering in low-Earth orbit. A variety of sensors on the satellites can measure phenomena in space or on Earth and then deliver the data to classrooms.

The company launched its satellite-based platform in August, in a handful of schools. In less than six months, the platform was adopted by 44 schools across 12 states, according to a press release. Now, the company is expanding its efforts with $1 million in additional funding from Space Florida, Fresco Capital, Spire and other investors.

According to Ardusat's president, Sunny Washington, the program will use this new funding to reach more schools by offering new kinds of experiments in both K–12 and higher education institutions.

"We're excited about what our platform expansion will mean for student engagement in STEM education, and we're grateful to our investors for realizing this important vision," Washington said in the press release. "In addition to running experiments in space through our satellite program, students will be able to leverage their creativity to a broader range of possibilities, including sending experiments into the atmosphere on high-altitude balloons or attaching sensors to downhill skiers to collect kinetic data."

A video demonstration of the skiing experiment was shared on Ardusat’s website, featuring the company’s director of engineering, Ben Peters. Using components found within the cube satellites, Peters created a tracking device that records detailed data on his adventures in the snow.

“With this, I actually have a pretty rich data set, with acceleration and other types of motion data being logged every few milliseconds while I go skiing,” says Peters in the video.

Along with an upcoming expansion, Ardusat plans to launch an "open data repository," allowing students to share the results of their experiments with others.

Mar 11 2015