Orbital Sciences Corp. has formed a partnership with Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology of Alexandria, Va., to develop a small satellite that will be built entirely by high school students, Orbital announced Dec. 6.
The mission for TJ-Sat will be determined by the students, who will be responsible for design and integration of the payload, integration of all subsystems, development of onboard software and carrying out pre-launch quality and environmental testing.
Orbital will provide the basic satellite platform and access to test equipment at the company's Dulles, Va.-based manufacturing facility. A team of Orbital satellite engineers and technicians have volunteered to mentor the students and advise them on systems engineering and integration.
The TJ-SAT program is part of the Cubesat project, a collaboration of more than 40 universities, high schools and private firms around the globe developing picosatellites that will carry scientific, private and government payloads. A Cubesat is a 10-centimeter cube weighing up to 1 kilogram.
TJ-SAT is expected to be launched in early 2009.