A group of students at the College of Staten Island are helping design a satellite that's destined for space. NY1's Natalie Duddridge filed the following report.
Students prepare for the Robbins-1 Space mission. It's a joint design project between the Society of Women Engineers and College of Staten Island's Engineering, Science and Physics department to build a satellite.
“We're dealing with a problem that could potentially cause billions of dollars in damages over the course of time," said Jose Garofalo, astrophysics student at CSI.
That problem is what scientists call Space Junk. This select group of students is building a satellite so they can study the space debris.
“When you have objects in space that have been lost, have been traveling around, there's a lot of things up there that travel 18,000 miles an hour, they've become a very dangerous thing if you don't know where they're going," said Irving Robbins, a professor of astrophysics at CSI.
With help from their professors, students are starting to build the satellite. That's the easy part. They've already spent months planning and researching how to do it.
"In the simplest of terms, I basically draft or draw out the satellite where all the components are going to go," said Sharmin Pethan, an engineering science student.
The satellite won't be ready until the beginning of 2017, and then it will be launched from a place near the Fiji islands. But once it's in space, students will be able to track it from an observatory on campus.
"We'll talk to it, and we talk to it through coding, a coding language. We use the antennae that's outside," said Garofalo.
Students say not only has the project made college way more interesting, it's inspiring them to follow their dreams.
"I would love to work with NASA one day. Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get a little experience," said Pethan.
After the mission is complete, students will analyze the data their satellite collects and hope they make some far-out discoveries.