Satellite Development Program

Through another unprecedented opportunity, AMSE students pursue an incredible goal — the first ever, high school-designed and constructed satellite to launch into space from the International Space Station. Guided by industry professionals who have previously designed, built, and launched satellites into space, students work as a team to research and design a payload experiment for the VCHS satellite.  Students prepare two different units for the launch: a flight unit, which is the actual satellite unit that is launched, and a back-up unit, called the proto-flight unit. The VCS satellite that is currently under development contains a camera to capture an outside view of the Space Station launch, along with a GPS, accelerometer, tilt sensor, thermometer, hygrometer, gyroscope, anemometer, and compass.

Students work closely with the Control and Telemetry Station Program Team, managed by the Satellite II & III Tracking AMSE co-curricular program. Together, these teams track and command the satellite from the school’s recently constructed Satellite Ground Tracking Station, which will receive the satellite data.  Preliminary testing has been successful.

AMSE students have designed, constructed, tested and analyzed a unique VHF antenna deployment system, which won awards at the recent Synopsys Science Competition. This antenna deployment system will fly aboard the VCS satellite, named Quest-1. During the summer of 2015, a rocket is scheduled to transfer the satellite to the ISS for deployment. Then, Quest-1 will launch from the International Space Station (ISS) and spend approximately one year orbiting in space before decaying out of orbit and back to Earth.

Students will achieve the following:
  • Gain hands-on experience in the project design and development processes
  • Understand the CubeSat structure – including materials and mechanical design
  • Establish a working knowledge of the electrical power subsystems - solar panels, battery, charging circuitry, battery safety requirements, and a sun simulator
  • Learn the radio frequency communications system
  • Understand the command and telemetry system: Uplink and Downlink
  • Master the thermal control, attitude determination and control
Equipment & Software:
  • 3D Printer
  • Basic™ StampKit
  • Tektronix Oscilloscopes and HP Digital Voltmeters
  • ExpressPCB™ and AutoCad Inventor™ CAD software
  • Elementary School 1450 Leigh Avenue
  • San Jose, CA 95125 408.559.4400
  • Junior High 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 130
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2460
  • High School 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 110
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2400
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