CubeSats
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CubeSats

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Overview

Welcome to PLIX CubeSats! This series of creative learning workshops is designed to support public library patrons in exploring outer space environments using small, instrument- and sensor-laden spacecraft. While there are many different types of spacecraft, this series focuses on cube satellites (or cubesats), a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is revolutionizing the way that we explore our universe.

Three-Workshop Series

Each of the three workshops centers on one key element of spacecraft design cycle:

  1. Rapid Prototyping: Patrons design and build their own mock cube satellites and then come up with their own testing strategies to assess their designs.
  2. Payload Development: Patrons explore different payloads that they will integrate into their satellite and use for data collection.
  3. Satellite Launch & Data Collection: Patrons launch their designs on tethered balloons to collect data for analysis.

See the Workshop Guides section for more details on running each of these sessions.

Learning Goals

By creating this series of activities, we aim to:

  • Create an environment to engage with ideas related to outer space exploration and small satellite design in a hands-on and creative way.
  • Experience the engineering and design lifecycle using low-cost and reusable materials.
  • Provide engaging methods for patrons to collect and analyze their own data.
  • Facilitate discussions related to emerging outer space technologies and how these technologies can help address challenges on Earth (including climate change).

How these workshops might exist in your library

The PLIX CubeSats workshops can be used as a series in which sessions build on one another, or you can mix and match different activities to create your own custom sessions! The PLIX team has also tested these activities as drop-in build sessions.

Some ideas for bringing these activities to your library include:

  • Program building and launch sessions to coincide with World Space Week ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿš€
  • Run these workshops during a climate-related community event (like Earth Day!) ๐ŸŒŽ
  • Partner with a local university or technical partner, and have them participate as facilitators in the workshops ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ”ฌ
  • Combine these workshops with PLIX Space Food, and host your own space week at your library ๐Ÿ”ญ

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Share the love: Tell us how you use this activity guide on the PLIX Forum or via our PLIX Remix report form. Remember, our guide is just a jumping off point โ€” feel free change or create new design elements to suit your local community!

Workshop Guides

Below you'll find more information on each CubeSats workshop. Simply click one to learn more!

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Mission 1: Rapid Prototyping
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Mission 2: Satellite Testing & Payload Integration
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Mission 3: Liftoff! Balloon Deployment and Data Collection

Facilitator Resources

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Introduction to CubeSats and Space Exploration
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CubeSats Reading List
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CubeSats Video Resources

What We โค๏ธ About This activity

  • Provides a creative pathway for getting started with engineering for outer space. This activity invites learners of all backgrounds to engage with ideas related to outer space exploration and satellite design in a hands-on and playful way.
  • Encourages peer learning and collaboration. Patrons work together in the engineering and creation process to share, remix, and riff on ideas for prototyping model satellites.
  • Supports data literacy. Engaging and hands-on prompts encourage patrons to collect, manipulate, and analyze their own data.
  • Offers an entry point for dialog about our changing planet. The activities can spark discussions about how emerging outer space technologies can help to address some of the challenges we face here on Earth, including climate change.

About PLIX CubeSats

This series of workshops is inspired by an outreach program at the Media Lab, Climate CubeSat Co-Building (C3), developed by the Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative. The first iteration of PLIX CubeSats was co-designed with members of the PLIX Team as well as library professionals from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (North Carolina) and Cambridge Public Library (Massachusetts).

Other ways to engage with the CubeSats program:

The Public Library Innovation Exchange (PLIX) is a project of the MIT Media Lab Digital Learning & Collaboration Studio. Except where otherwise noted, all materials on this site are licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Accessibility.