PLIX CubeSats is designed to offer patrons a way to experience the simulated lifecycle of spacecraft design, testing, and launch. Through engaging in a creative design process over three workshops, patrons will build out their own satellite design and use it to collect data with a payload of their choosing. Along the way, they’ll learn about the functions of and engineering pipeline for satellites!

This series of workshops was inspired by the Climate CubeSat Co-Building (C3) outreach program from the Media Lab's Space Exploration Initiative. The first iteration of PLIX CubeSats was co-designed and tested with library professionals from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (North Carolina) and Cambridge Public Library (Massachusetts) as part of a PLIX residency exchange.

Workshops at a Glance

  • Mission 1: Rapid Prototyping πŸ“ – Patrons design and build their own model cube satellites.
  • Mission 2: Satellite Testing & Payload Integration πŸ§ͺ – Patrons test their satellite design and integrate a payload that they will use for data collection.
  • Mission 3: Liftoff! Balloon Deployment & Data Collection πŸŽˆβ€“ Patrons launch their designs on tethered balloons to collect data for analysis.

What we ❀️ about this activity

  • Offers 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.

Ideas for bringing these workshops to your library

  • Run these workshops during a climate-related community event, like Earth Day or International Day of Climate Action 🌎
  • Partner with a local university or research center, and have them participate as co-facilitators of the workshops πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬
  • Offer these sessions during World Space Week πŸ‘©β€πŸš€
  • Combine these workshops with PLIX Space Food, and host your own space week at your library πŸ”­

Try it!

On our PLIX Activity Repository, you'll find the full documentation for the Space Food activity! All of our PLIX activities include background information, materials lists, workshop guides, and facilitator resources.

We think it’s important to share what we’re making so anyone can get started with creative STEAM learning. All of our PLIX learning materials are openly licensed (CC-BY-SA 4.0) and free to download.

Share your experience running these workshops on the PLIX Discussion Forum or on social media using #PLIXCubeSats πŸ›° ️