Above: CubeSats are a class of nanosatellites that use a standardized size and form factor. They were developed as a cost-effective platform for education and space exploration. Credit: NASA

The Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) has received a $450,000 grant for its CubeSat design challenge to provide build-your-own satellite kits to students in Hawai‘i, as well as related training for educators. 

The Governor Emergency Education Relief (GEER) grant funding will expand the CubeSat program designed for undergraduates, allowing middle and high school students to participate. The funding will also provide teacher training on how to assemble and configure the low-cost satellite hardware kits.

“I am so grateful the GEER review team believes in our vision and wants to see more hands-on learning in our community,” said Avionics Engineer and Outreach Specialist Amber Imai-Hong, who led the development of the CubeSat kits and serves as program manager for the GEER grant and Artemis Student Challenge projects at HSFL. “There is so much that can be taught through satellites—from electronics and mechanical design, programming, logic exercises and interpersonal skills.”

Additionally, an online course through the University of Hawaiʻi will be offered to teachers for technical and curriculum support, and an open-ended design challenge for their students. At the end of the 2021-2022 school year, students will present their research to STEM professional in the local community as part of a virtual symposium. 

PISCES will help facilitate the project in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Science and Technology Museum in Hilo. The project aims to reach about 65 educators and 500 students. 

“Getting students and teachers excited about hands-on learning is so important, and I am so excited to be able to share this with our keiki and teachers in Hawaiʻi,” Imai-Hong said.