This giant rocket just sent a school project into space

High schoolers built a satellite that shot into space on a NASA rocket this week.

Remember what you were doing for fun in high school? Well, it probably didn't involve shooting things into outer space. But that's exactly what a group of Israeli high school students have been doing for the past two years.

More than 80 high school students in Israel built the Duchifat-2 (Hoopoe), a small nano-satellite. It was sent into space earlier this week on an Atlas V supply rocket headed to the International Space Station.

The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., as part of the European Union’s QB50 thermosphere research program. Twenty-eight teams from 23 countries participated, though the Duchifat-2 was the only one constructed by high school students.

Picture of high school students and their satelliteIsraeli high school students show off the satellite they built that was recently sent into space to study the lower atmosphere. (Photo: Israel Space Agency/Roy Greenberg)

The students will study the plasma density in the lower thermosphere, which sits between 53 and 185 miles up. They will track the findings for about 12 months, and then the satellite will sink into the atmosphere and incinerate.

The first satellite built by high school students was sent into space by NASA in 2013. It took the teenagers from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Va. seven years to complete the construction. The following year, a radio satellite built by high school students in Israel was sent into space and is expected to stay there for 20 years.

The U.S. and Israel have been involved in the recent resurgence in space exploration, hoping to colonize Mars and to expand the commercial sphere.

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