Oak Ridge students, mentors count down to launch of wildfire-studying satellite to space station

The RamSat satellite built over seven years by students at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, with help from ORNL researchers, was launched onboard a SpaceX spacecraft at 1:29 p.m., Thursday, June 3, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was bound for the International Space Station. NASA TV and SpaceX livestreamed the event. That trip took about 24 hours. Two weeks later, RamSat will be deployed from the ISS into orbit 250 miles above the Earth. Traveling about 17,000 miles per hour, RamSat will make a complete orbit of Earth every 90 minutes.

RamSat’s mission is to take pictures of forest regrowth around Gatlinburg, where the forest and various properties were destroyed by wildfire in 2016. The mission is wholly designed and carried out by students, teachers and mentors, with support from numerous organizations, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (See video on ORNL website.)