Ardusat, a Utah-based education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, launches a platform that will enable K-12 students to remotely control small satellites called “cubesats” carrying science experiments.
The company aims to get more kids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by letting them track storms or study solar flares from space.
It also claims that this new platform will democratize access to space for a new generation of students who won’t see NASA’s shuttle program in action.
The platform is itself available to K-12 schools during the 2014-2015 school year, with initial participants from classes in the U.S., Brazil, China, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Israel.
Truth be told, Ardusat wants to make business with schools. Schools have to purchase the Ardusat classroom package to be able to access data from the satellites. That said, Ardusat will also produce curriculum based on its cubesat experiments that will be free for any teacher to use in the classroom.
More details in the press release
Ardusat Releases Satellite-Powered Web Platform, Takes STEM Education Into Space for K-12 Schools
- Ardusat platform will enable K-12 classes in the U.S. and internationally to easily conduct experiments in space
- Real-time data will be available to any classroom with an Arduino kit and free curriculum to teachers
- In addition, Ardusat announces partnership with Association of Space Explorers, which will host a competition for 15 classes
SALT LAKE CITY — August 27, 2014 — Ardusat, an education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, today announced the release of a technology platform and curriculum that will enable K-12 students and teachers to conduct multidisciplinary experiments in space. The signature feature is the ability to control — via remote upload — experiments conducted on small satellites called “cubesats,” which contain sensors built to collect scientific data. The platform will be available for the first time during the 2014-2015 academic year, with initial participation from classes in the U.S., Brazil, China, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Israel.
The release comes amid efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of college graduates in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Currently, there is nearly 50 percent attrition among students seeking bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines. The federal government currently dedicates more than $3 billion toward STEM education initiatives each year.
“We strongly believe that there is a direct correlation between making STEM education more engaging and getting more students involved in these critical fields,”
said Ardusat President Sunny Washington.
“The broad commercialization of space is opening up unprecedented opportunities to engage in space education and explore career options in STEM fields. In previous generations, kids grew up idolizing astronauts who were the select few to exceed earth’s boundaries. We want to give future generations direct access to the cosmos so they can see science-based education from a whole new perspective.”
Students will be able to use the Ardusat platform to find learning resources and to prepare a range of custom experiments, which could include tracking storms, studying the association of atmosphere and temperature and looking at solar flares. The experiments will be run on cubesats, which transit the planet in low-earth orbit at 4.79 miles per second. They will collect data on sensors that measure everything from light to temperature to even radiation levels. Based on the open-source Arduino standard, the technology used to access space will provide students with a meaningful way to interact with both hardware and software through their exploration.
“My students and I couldn’t be more eager to take part in Ardusat’s release during this school year,”
said Rachelle Romanoff, chair of the science department at Bakersfield Christian High School and contributor to the Ardusat curriculum.
“As a teacher, I’m always looking for ways to make learning an immersive experience for my students, and this is the most dramatic example I can think of for STEM education.”
The cubesats are capable of gathering a variety of measurements simultaneously. Any class that purchases the Ardusat classroom package will be able access data from the satellites. Ardusat will also produce curriculum based on its cubesat experiments that will be free for any teacher to use in the classroom.
In connection with the release, Ardusat announced today a partnership with the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), the unique organization of astronauts who have orbited Earth, to issue the ASE AstroSat Challenge. This offers the opportunity for high-school aged students to propose their own experiment using a real satellite on orbit. The top 15 ideas will be selected by ASE, but all proposers will have an exciting experience learning about the satellite and developing their own experiment.
Ardusat received initial financing through Spire (formerly Nanosatisfi), a San Francisco-based company that builds cubesats for commercial use. Ardusat experiments will operate in Earth’s orbit via Spire cubesats, which are launched into space through rideshare opportunities with larger satellites or similar devices.
“Under Sunny’s leadership, we see Ardusat as an incredible vehicle to radically shift the paradigm for STEM education globally,”
said Spire CEO Peter Platzer.
“At a time when NASA’s iconic shuttle program has been discontinued, this platform can be a vehicle for recapturing the imaginations of young people by giving them access to space in an unprecedented way. Ardusat’s extraordinary and unique offering will inspire innovations through real science that connects people across the boundaries of age, language and background and allows them to help unravel some of our planet’s most vexing problems.”
Ardusat is an education technology company that provides the unique opportunity to connect the universe to the classroom. With our next generation learning resources, students can create their own satellite experiments and collect real-world space-data. We provide teachers with STEM curriculum resources, professional development, and hands-on materials that give students an experience that is truly out of this world.
Ardusat is the exclusive education partner of Spire, a worldwide leader in CubeSat technology.
Tyler Hoffman, Method Communications