Northwest Nazarene University students make history

 NNU students watch a live stream of their satellite design get 3-D printed in space (Lauren Clark KBOI). 

Braden Grim, and the rest of the Team Rocksat group are achieving something that hasn't been done before: print part of a space satellite in space.

"It's kind of hard to believe that it's finally happening," said Braden Grim, who just graduated from NNU in May. "We've been working on this for over three years now."

Grim explains that the current process of launching a satellite can be extremely expensive, and risky. Because the parts to build the satellite must survive the launch, a lot of unnecessary design goes into that aspect alone. It's not uncommon for parts to break.

The problem led to the group's idea. The goal is to eventually engineer the entire satellite inside the International Space Station, but right now they have at least half of it done.

On Wednesday, they got to watch a live feed of a 3-D printer in space building the base of the satellite.

"When you take some time to step back and look at the big picture, it really is quite an accomplishment to see it finally happening," Grim said.

The group now plans to launch the other parts of the satellite, including the science board and self-sufficient solar panels, to space in November.

From there, the astronauts will snap the pieces together like Legos and deploy the satellite into space.

The satellite project is expected to last for years to come, says Grim. He says the piece of Idaho in space will help inspire high school students for years to come, giving them easy access to the stars.

"This would provide other schools, high schools with a generic board," Grim said. "It would be a simple plug in play where you plug it into our stuff, and it would automatically work."

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