Tag Archives: wvspacegrant

White Hall Elementary School Mighty Builders Team Wins West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge

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This fall, White Hall Elementary School in White Hall, W.Va., sponsored a First Lego League Junior (FLL Jr.) team.  Eleven fourth-grade team members and two coaches met twice a week for several months to develop a LEGO model, poster and presentation to illustrate what they learned as part of this year’s CREATURE CRAZE Challenge.  As part of their meetings, the Mighty Builders participated in West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge.

Suder Blog Entry_STF1 Lego Winners

Image Credit: Mark Suder

The challenge fit naturally into the learning the students were doing as part of the CREATURE CRAZE Challenge.

“The team and building rules were similar to what we were doing for FLL Jr., and the kids needed to begin learning about our WeDo LEGO set, how the motors and sensors work, and how to program it, so this challenge seemed like a natural fit for our meetings,” coach Mark Suder said.

With the guidance of their coaches, the kids split into several teams to create LEGO satellite models, then chose one to add motors, sensors and a brain to.  Following the addition of and learning about these parts, the kids brainstormed about the questions that were posed to them for West Virginia’s First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge.  Those questions were:

  1. What you want to have in West Virginia’s second spacecraft and why?
  2. What is different from your LEGO STF-1 and NASA’s LEGO STF-1 and why?
  3. How do CubeSats affect space exploration around the world?
Suder Blog Entry_STF1 Lego Winners 2

Image Credit: Mark Suder

“Creative, energetic, smart, enthusiastic!  Those are the words I would use to describe the students,” Suder said. “As the coach, I have been both proud and inspired to be part of this team.  These kids are the future of the country, and with all the negative news these days it is neat to see that there is also a lot of hope for the future based on these inspirational young people of today.  Besides, who doesn’t like playing with LEGOs?”

The team was incredibly excited to learn that they had won the First Spacecraft LEGO Challenge and was excited to tour NASA IV&V and receive their first place prize.

In addition to the tour, and to both congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of this team, NASA’s IV&V Program invited the students, their teachers, as well as the school’s principal to attend IV&V’s Internal Award Event. The students were presented with certificates of appreciation, and in return, presented IV&V’s Director Greg Blaney, as well as the program, with a thank you card from the team.

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Image Credit: Clayton Peachey

20161213-Christmas Auction Party_00037 Award group Mighty Builders

Image Credit: Clayton Peachey

Mark Suder | Systems Analyst
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

The Latest from the STF-1 Team

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The development of the first CubeSat to be built in the state of West Virginia, Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1), is underway. On April 30, 2015, the STF-1 development team held its first table-top review to walk through the mission plan, technical objectives, components, budgets (mass, power, volume, communications, and cost), risks and schedule. The team also identified all major system components. These components include the GOMspace A3200 on-board computer, L-3 Cadet radio, batteries and electrical power system from Clydespace and Pumpkin 3U Chassis. This review was a huge success!

In addition, in late April 2015, the STF-1 team was contacted by the NASA Education Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) effort, with respect to a potential launch opportunity, and could launch as early as November 2016. The team is anxiously waiting to hear if we have a launch.

In the meantime, the STF-1 team is pushing forward. The team is actively working on power simulations to ensure there is sufficient power generation to support all mission objectives, development of an Advanced CubeSat Simulation Library (ACSL), initiating development of all four science instruments, and beginning to purchase spacecraft components.

The development and demonstration of the ACSL is the primary mission objective and is aimed to reduce hardware reliance and provide a rapidly deployable CubeSat development and test environment. We are excited about our simulation approach and will go into more details later as the architecture matures. In the meantime, take some time and submit your best ideas to design the Mission Patch for West Virginia’s first CubeSat in SPACE!

Mission Website: www.stf1.com

Mission Patch Design: http://www.wvspacegrant.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Mission-Patch-Design-STF1.pdf

-The STF-1 Team