Satellite Built by Teens Blasts Into Space
High school students in Virginia make history
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2013 1:03 PM CST
File photo of a rocket lifting off from NASA's Wallops Island site.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(Newser) – A rocket blasted into space last night with what Space.com calls a record 29 satellites, but one of them in particular is making headlines for all the right reasons: It's the first satellite designed and built by high school students, reports NPR. Teens at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., achieved the feat with their 2-pound TJ3Sat device. Even better: The satellite will be able to receive text messages that will be turned into audio and rebroadcast on ham radio, explains the Washington Post. (The project's web page has instructions on how to contact the satellite and track its orbit.)

The satellite's main mission is an educational one. "It used to be that kids growing up wanted to be an astronaut," says a NASA official. "I think we might be seeing kids saying, what they want to do is build a spacecraft. The idea here is that they really can do that."