June 12, 2017

The Irvine-based, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation recently donated $25,000 to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation’s (IPSF) to support the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program. The donation will contribute to the funding of the second phase of the CubeSat program, Irvine02, by the Irvine Unified School District and IPSF for the 2017-18 academic year.

“We are deeply appreciative to the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for their donation to our Irvine CubeSat STEM initiative. Their generosity will enable this robust STEM program to remain in our high schools,” said Neda Eaton, President and CEO, IPSF. “This partnership allows us to provide advanced educational enrichment in the fields of aerospace, science, technology, engineering, and math to the students in IUSD, which in turn will benefit the future workforce in Irvine and beyond through the advanced skills that our students are being exposed to.”

By serving as the founding partner, IPSF helped to spur investment from other public and private organizations in Irvine CubeSat as well as strengthen Orange County’s future workforce. In addition, the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program is uniting the City of Irvine public high schools in partnership with industry experts to assemble, test, and launch a CubeSat spacecraft, a type of miniaturized satellite used for space research made from commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components for its electronics and structure.

Beckman High School, Irvine High School, Northwood High School, Portola High School, University High School, and Woodbridge High School each formed teams of up to 30 students responsible for assembling and testing one component of the nanosatellite. Typically, a program like Irvine CubeSat would only be seen at NASA or a handful of elite colleges and universities.

The CubeSat initiative is helping to secure Irvine’s place as a hotbed of innovation. In addition to local companies sponsoring the project, Irvine-based Tyvak Nanosatellite Systems has stepped up as the integration partner. With professional guidance from Tyvak engineers, the six high school teams are assembling components of the program’s first mission, Irvine01, at the company’s headquarters in July. This is the final step in preparation to launch the satellite in India this summer.