Irvine CubeSat

IPSF is proud to be the official funding partner of the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program!


Project Overview

The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program endeavors to provide STEM educational resources to high school students, with the intention of inspiring the next generation of innovative thinkers and an emphasis on creating opportunities for under-represented groups in STEM-related fields, including women and minorities. Teams of up to 30 students each at five high schools located in the City of Irvine – Beckman, Irvine, Northwood, University, and Woodbridge high schools – are joining forces to assemble, test and launch a CubeSat (nano-satellite) into low Earth orbit.

Teams were selected through a competitive application process in January 2016. The program officially kicked off on March 22, 2016 in The Cove @ UCI. Student teams will work after school during the course of a year, with a series of milestones scheduled to keep them on track. An Industry Speaker Series will provide students with expert insight into space, technology and STEM, enhancing their understanding of real world application of the skills they are learning. Other events include field trips for testing and a design review, both intended to deepen student understanding and learning through hands-on experience. The crowning event will be the actual launch of the CubeSat into low Earth orbit aboard a rocket from a facility based in India, scheduled for Summer 2017.


Student Impact

Irvine CubeSat represents an incredible opportunity for over 125 diverse students to come together and gain advanced hands-on STEM experience with an emphasis on space. Students will not only assemble a CubeSat, but they will also participate in a professional team environment that challenges them to receive and process technical training in their team's area of emphasis, collaborate with manufacturers to acquire components, and even participate in professional panel reviews of their work from experts such as JPL personnel.

Once the CubeSat is successfully launched, schools will engage in a variety of orbital maneuvers and experiments, including operating the CubeSat to position the antennae, solar panels and camera for optimal operation. The CubeSat will also collect data that students can practice evaluating and share for further study.

Partner colleges and universities are supporting the program, because they view it as a training ground for the next generation of great minds in space science. Beyond high school, participants will be uniquely positioned to pursue post-secondary education in a variety of science and space-related disciplines.


The program will provide hands-on STEM experience to foster interest in advanced technologies, to meet the rising demand for a highly-qualified work force in growing STEM-related industries. Irvine CubeSat also has an eye on creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields, including women and minorities.

The project is the first of its kind on the West Coast and, if successful, would be the first high school program in the U.S. to launch an operational CubeSat into orbit.

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