Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
Astronaut Jack Swigert uttered that famous statement on April 13, 1970, when problems became apparent during the failed Apollo 13 mission. Members of NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston immediately went to work to figure out what happened and ultimately saved the lives of the crew.
Since the space age began, spacecraft and their crews have been communicating with ground stations via radio.
Now, University of Virginia engineering students are about to join that tradition with their own ground station for tracking a small spacecraft of their own design. The station will allow student engineers to track and collect data from their craft, scheduled to be launched into orbit in late 2018 aboard a NASA-sponsored rocket as part of an International Space Station resupply mission.
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