Their goal is simple: Bring space to BYU. The BYU SpaceCraft Club aims to introduce students to spacecraft and encourage space companies to seek involvement with BYU.
Jordan Penner, the SpaceCraft Club President said, “The purpose is to help students to be able to build spacecraft and honestly to help BYU get its name and brand out there in space. It’s something that the Dean of the college talked about, and it’s our goal.”
The club focuses on experiential learning. During fall semester, members build a small CubeSat, or space satellite that can fit in the palm of a hand. After completing the challenge and launching the CubeSat, they move on to more challenges.
Penner explained of the next project, “To help people bridge the gap between the small CubeSat and building a full-size CubeSat, we’re working on PocketQube, which is about 1/8 the size of the CubeSat. It’s a lot easier and more open-source, so there’s a lot of tools out there to help you out and help you understand what’s going on.”
Essentially a PocketQube is a CubeSat that takes pictures of rockets in space. It is attached to the rocket, then released once the rocket launches into space. The pictures it takes are used for inspection-purposes. Club members are excited to build these PocketQubes because it will be the first BYU spacecraft to get launched into space.
Penner hopes that developing these PocketQubes and working on other projects in the future will bring even more growth to the club.
“What we want to have happen is to have people gradually gain the skills necessary to be able to join these teams that are working on these complicated CubeSat missions. We would like to have a launch once every year or two. We want to be able to put BYU’s name out there and we want to have these students to have something to show for all the work they’ve put into these projects,” Penner said.
Overall, working on these projects has been an exciting and challenging experience that the members of the club have enjoyed.
“The club is a lot different than classes and from what other clubs do because we don’t always know what we’re doing. There are challenges that come up with that, but it’s really exciting to be able to gain those problem-solving skills that you’re going to need when you’re out in the field,” Penner said. “Sometimes the answer isn’t going to be handed to you—It’s fun being able to tinker around with this stuff and make a satellite out of essentially nothing.”