A cubical satellite small enough to sit on the palm of the hand is zipping across the world and sending information about radiation to the Louisiana students who built and designed it

A cubical satellite small enough to sit on the palm of the hand is zipping round the world and sending data about radiation into the Louisiana students who designed and constructed it.

The satellite, called CAPE-3, conveys a processor designed and built by students in the University of Louisiana in Lafayette to find radiation, having an eye to keeping astronauts safe.

“The detectors would offer liquid crystal screen readings so astronauts could constantly monitor how much radiation they are being subjected to,” Dr. Paul Darby, the university’s project leader, said in a news release.

The satellite carries a tiny Geiger counter so students can tell if the chip is accurate.

Each side of the satellite is just 10 centimeters – less than 4 inches – around. It was one of 10 launched Jan. 17 out of a Virgin Orbit rocket that itself was launched high over the Pacific Ocean from a customized Boeing 747.

Eight of the other nine were assembled by pupils at other schools. The tenth was built by NASA, which conducts the CubeSat Launch Initiative to give nonprofit organizations and schools in all levels a chance to do scientific investigations in space and help NASA with mining and technology development. At least “nanosatellite” was assembled through an elementary school.

Pupils in Lafayette began receiving radio signals early Monday from the satellite, which circles the world every 90 minutes, at 17,000 miles an hour.

This can be Louisiana-Lafayette’s third satellite established as part of the app. The school’s application is named CAPE, for its Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment program aimed at educating students for careers in mathematics, technology, engineering and math.

The CAPE-1 satellite was built to show that the pupil team could design and build a satellite that may send radio signals back and could respond to signals sent from Earth. It was monitored for four months following its launch in 2007.

Another feature lets visitors to a children’s museum hear their own voices coming back to a radio, in addition to send text messages to the satellite. It was monitored for 11 months.

Rizwan Merchant, a NASA systems security engineer who was assistant project director for its CAPE-2 launch as a student at ULL and is currently the CAPE team’s industry coach, said students will devote a few weeks”grabbing data from the satellite only to assesses every feature and ensure it is all working properly.”

Afterward CAPE team members and students majoring in areas including computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and physics will start collecting and analyzing the information.

CAPE team member Nicholas Drozda, a senior mechanical engineering student, stated that the project allow him prepare for an aerospace career whilst conducting research”which could result in actual innovations in the area.”