Students from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico’s School of Engineering in Bayamón are making history. They have designed and developed the first Puerto Rican satellite that NASA will launch into space. The satellite, known as the PR-CuNaR2, will take its maiden voyage as part of Mission 23 for Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX.
Over the last three years, approximately 65 students have been part of the development of the PR-CuNaR2. The last student team to work on the satellite was made up of Natalie Cruz, Xavier Álvarez, Héctor González, Ian Huertas, Wilhem Sánchez Rodríguez, Jesús Marrero Colón, Carlos Vergara Quiles, Lucas Soto Balseiro, Edwardivan Labarca and Carlos Figueroa Gibson.
“After having passed the tests of electrical connections, dimensions, mass, functionality, and final integration, we can announce that Puerto Rico will have its first satellite in space,” says Dr. Amilcar Rincón Charris, a professor at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. “For all of us who have been part of this project, it is a great pride and demonstrates the caliber of the education we provide at the engineering school.”
With this achievement, Charris adds that Puerto Rico will become one of the few territories “to have launched a satellite into space and to contribute to the study and scientific research of the formation of the cosmos.”
The PR-CuNaR2 is scheduled for launch on August 29, 2021, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After its launch, the satellite will take about nine hours to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS). Once the satellite reaches the ISS, it will be launched into space and remain in orbit for two years. During that time, PR-CuNaR2 will record and photograph microparticles that are the subject of its study.