That’s one small beep for a four-inch cube-shaped satellite, one giant leap for the student space program that built it.
AubieSat-1, the first in a series of satellites built by Auburn University students, was launched into orbit from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base yesterday aboard a Delta II rocket.
This is how it looked:
The “cubesat” was designed test the efficiency of solar panels operating in the harsh environment of space. But first it had to deploy successfully from its “pea pod” along with three other satellites built by students from Utah State, Montana State, and Michigan, a feat exciting enough for NASA to broadcast to YouTube complete with color commentary:
Less than an hour after AubieSat-1 emerged from it’s rocket womb, it uttered its first words: “War Eagle.”
“Essentially, 51 minutes after it [AubieSat-1] deploys from the rocket it will start transmitting its beacon,” Auburn student Ian Locklar told TWER in July.
Locklar was in charge of the student satellite project over the summer.
“When it comes over Auburn and we hear it transmitting, we can send up a [Morse code] command and the command is to tell us ‘Are you alive?” And if it is, then it will transmit ‘War Eagle.’ That’s how we’ll know it’s alive.”
Locklar says video of the “War Eagle” being received at the program’s control center in the Physics Department will be shown at Jordan-Hare Stadium prior to kickoff on the day of the Iron Bowl (but we’re hoping to get our hands on it before that).
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Apparently the rocket that carried the satellite was built in Decatur, AL too….probably by some Auburn grads. We just War Eagle’d all over that NASA mission!