LEO, the latest Cal Poly CubeSAT, launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket Monday night from NASA’s historic Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The megarocket — the most powerful launch vehicle currently in operation — also will be carrying 23 different satellites for the Air Force’s Space Test Program-2 mission. Cal Poly students and aerospace engineers have worked on about a dozen of these small satellites, helping install them in the spring-loaded boxes that will nudge them into space.
These include a softball-size satellite, built by Florida high school students, that will communicate through Wi-Fi to LEO, as well as The Planetary Society’s much-anticipated LightSail 2. Cal Poly students have been instrumental in testing the citizen-funded project that Bill Nye (the Science Guy) has called a potential game changer for low-cost interplanetary space travel. And the students will perform critical ground station operations for the spacecraft that is about the size of a loaf of bread, working with Nye’s TPS team to unfurl the Mylar sail (the size of a boxing ring) about two weeks after launch to ultimately test the feasibility of using a sail to harness photons from the sun to propel the spacecraft. (Cal Poly and The Planetary Society have worked together on the LightSail project and its two spacecraft since 2010.)
Here's a short video of the May 2019 intergration of LEO and StangSat.