US primary students launch satellite into space

  • 17/05/2016
US primary students launch satellite into space

A group of American school students have been watching with great interest as their school project takes off -- literally.

The Virginia pupils made history by becoming the first school to put a satellite into space.

The tiny satellite was launched by astronauts on the International Space Station. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca El Choueiry helped build it.

"I think it's awesome," she says. "I'm really excited that's it's finally up in space."

Now St Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia is the first primary school in the US to put a satellite in orbit.

The main payload is a small camera, which will beam photographs back to Earth using an antenna that fifth grader Felix Pellegrino helped build.

"We don't really control where it does take a picture, but it does take a picture every 30 seconds," says Felix.

Sixth grader Gabe MacPhail is in charge of communications, which means he also gets to be on TV.

Teacher Emily Stocker says it was supposed to be a one- to two-year project, but because of some setbacks, including the explosion of an unmanned Space Station-bound rocket in 2014, it took a sometimes agonising four years.

"What we didn't plan on teaching them was the perseverance that it would take to actually get this project completed," says Ms Stocker. "And we're still not done."

They're still not done because they're still waiting for the satellite to send a signal with its first photograph from space.

Until then, the students will be asking: please phone home, now.

CBS News