Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 

Southland student set on satellite success


Southland’s involvement in the international space sector is set to be boosted by a local student’s innovative idea.

Along with juggling study, NCEA exams and part-time work, 16-year-old Gore High School student, Max Balloch has set a goal to produce the world’s first satellite designed and built entirely by a group connected through social media.

His vision has captured the imagination of the international space community, with the project – called TheCommunitySat –resonating with a large online audience, even members of the European Space Agency.

At last count, more than 740 people have joined the online group, including aerospace engineers, avionics and payload experts, cloud engineers, satellite ground station engineers and university students from all over the world.

Of this, 260 supporters with specialist skills have been assigned to various teams to confirm the parameters of the project, with regular conversations held using an online meeting app.

Max said he had been overwhelmed with the interest from people wanting to be involved or support the project.

“The first few days were a nightmare. I’d clear messages and go to sleep and when I’d wake up in the morning there would be another 1000 messages. It was crazy.’’

Max said the project’s inspiration came from a comment made by Rocket Lab founder, Peter Beck, who spoke at a secondary school event organised by Southland Youth Futures (a career exploration programme led by Great South, the Southland Regional Development Agency).

Mr Beck, an ex-student of James Hargest College in Invercargill, urged students to follow their passion and promised that if any of the students built a satellite, Rocket Lab would launch it free.

Max has taken Mr Beck at his word with the idea for the project starting to take significant shape.

The collective decision is to build two small satellites, each about the size of a Rubik’s Cube, to test a theory about whether electro-magnetic tether straps can be used to de-orbit a satellite once it has come to the end of its life. One satellite will test the technology and the other will be a control device.

Max said if successful, the technology could have huge implications for satellite owners.

“Space junk is a real problem. If we can design something which provides a solution to the problem then we’ll be doing a good thing.’’

Max plans to be back at Gore High School next year as a Year 13 student, working on his satellites in his spare time. After that, he’s not quite sure where life will take him. Watch this space.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ Festival : The NZSO Goes To The Disco and more...

In the endless, anguished debates about how to make classical music more relevant to new audiences, proposals are often put forward to strip away certain elements – reduce the formality ... More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Charlotte Yates' Mansfield Project

Katherine Mansfield's vapid verses are of even less interest than her over-rated short stories, but Yates has risen to the challenge of producing a fascinating compilation album by a variety of musicians to accompany her poetry. More>>

Howard Davis: Dazed & Confused by Beats

Beats is both a coming-of-age tale and a romantic movie about endings, set to a nostalgic backdrop of the disappearing tail of the UK's illegal rave scene. More>>

Howard Davis: And The Oscar Goes To … Parasite
For its deliciously dark wit and genre-bending ingenuity, Bong Joon-ho's latest movie has just won four out of a potential six Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay and Director. Only ten foreign-language films have previously been nominated for Best Picture and none have won before. More>>

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

Howard Davis: 1917's 1,000 Yard Stare

Sam Mendes has created a terrible and barbarous trek, one that we appreciate all the more for being catapulted right into the midst of this ear-splitting melee from the film's opening sequence. More>>

Over 150 Productions: NZ Fringe 2020 Has Launched

The upcoming festival will be held at 40 venues all over Wellington Region from 28 February to 21 March, and includes every genre possible—theatre, comedy, dance, music, clowning, cabaret, visual art, children’s shows and more! More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 


 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland