Sim to Balloon to Orbit Initiative (S2B2O)

A Collaborative Learning Adventure

Grades 7-11 & University Teams

Fall 2022

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CubeSatSim Image.jpeg

The AIAA Rocky Mountain Section (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), and Aphelion Aerospace are inviting student teams to a CubeSat adventure to learn about solar panels, batteries, UHF radio telemetry, 3D printing, sensors, payloads, balloons, and satellite communications. 

Facilitating teachers and their students will be introduced to AIAA mentors in an experiential learning adventure, where each team will have at least one aerospace mentor. Schools can participate with only a few students or an entire class. Our design team will support with resources for project management and facilitation strategies.

This is a pilot program where studnets inspire and inform every phase. Each team will have the freedom to design and innovate according to their passion and perseverance. 


Phase I:

Students will build CubeSatSims (low cost satellite emulator that runs on solar panels and batteries, transmits UHF radio telemetry, has a 3D printed frame, and can be extended by additional sensors and modules.)

Phase I CubeSat Sim Kits will be built by Aphelion Aerospace.

Phase II:

The CubeSat Sims can be launched on a high altitude balloon as the real-life realization to the principles the students are learning in Phase I.  Multiple groups/schools taking different data and analyzing/comparing, and diversifying the sensors aboard lead to collaborative "missions."      e.g. data, LINK 

Our teams and collaborating partners will be challenged to create an app or webpage whereby each team's data can be shared via an interactive global map.   (US, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Belize, UK, and more)


Phase III:

With the fundamentals and real-life launch/data experience completed, the third phase is to build and fly operational CubeSats. (These CubeSats would be orbital with either the Air Force, private entities/companies such as BLUE ORIGIN, or NASA's CubeSat Launch 

Teams are encouraged to share their accomplishments by posting videos to YouTube that describes the process, products, and learning by each team.



The project timeline can run at the rate that students need/desire based on their learning and progress. Phase I can be achieved in one semester. Phase II  extends the project ​​ and may take another semester or longer. Phase III is part of the all-encompassing goal to be implemented later. 


Schedule for Excellence

Each school works with their assigned mentor to create their own collaborative schedule. (asynchronous, synchronous, and in person) Each team will share weekly status reports covering research, technical  questions, challenges, and project management updates. Teams have the option of written reports, video reports, or checking in live weekly via zoom. 

Learning Approach 

Student Driven / Teacher Facilitated / Aerospace Industry Inspired and Informed

Students will do the work via experiential, hands-on, and applied learning.

Facilitating Teachers are not expected to be subject matter experts. Subject Matter Experts (MENTORS) will be available to answer questions and help your students learn necessary skills, concepts, and content.  The combined network of our mentors and teams will ensure that all parties are supported. Teams are highly encouraged to share solutions and help other teams. 

Mentors will be provided with resources for "Best Practices" and encouraged to communicate with other mentors to give our teams a global network of support. 

Collaboration Between Teams

Teachers will communicate in order to build a digital community and share, catalog, and record successes and ideas.  (message board/slack, shared docs, wiki setup, tutorials, technical drawings, files, etc.)  



Spanish / English


Our intent is to provide this global learning adventure simultaneously in Spanish and English. We will work through challenges and opportunities together, respecting the potential of multiple perspectives for the global mission of empowering all learners, GLOBALLY.  We are working on translations of this site and all resources into Spanish. 

Design Team

  • Project Lead: Nicholas Florio - (Systems Engineer at Lockheed Martin Space) RM AIAA

  • CubeSatSim Project Design: Dr. Alan Johnston - Education Outreach VP for AMSAT

  • Hardware Design & Support: Matt Travis, Miguel Ayala - Aphelion Aerospace

  • Leads for Facilitating Teachers: Tom Kirk, Eric Henrikson, & Patrick Thornton  (Engineering Teachers)

  • Project Coordinator: Gregg Cannady - One Voice 4 Change

  • University Lead: Stephen Morgan - (Industry Laboratory Coordinator) Metropolitan State University

  • Project Management Advisor: Eric Wilson - (Colorado School of Mines, PhD Student, Space Resources Program)

  • Advisory: Jim Christensen - Executive Director of ShareSpace Education, the education arm of the Aldrin Family Foundation

  • Advisory: Craig Merrett - AIAA, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Clarkson University

  • Advisory: Kevin L. Simmons - NSS Space Ambassador

TEACHERS - To confirm your team's participation in the S2B2O Fall 2022 adventure, Fill Out This Form: LINK

For more information, contact Gregg Cannady:

More Resources & Links


Phase I CubeSat Sim Kit$600.00 each kit (we recommend one CubeSatSim for every 5 students)

*Sponsorships are available. 

We will be presenting S2B2O at the SmallSat Education Conference:

BLUECUBE Aerospace


There are so many ways to find out more about CubeSats. Check out Pony Express from LM.

Mission Examples: Payloads


Lucy Instrument Suite:

Lucy Instrument Details:

OSIRIS-REx Instrument Suite:



CubeSat Products:

Dragonfly CubeSat Cameras:

CubeSat Catalog:

CubeSat Vendor Catalog:

                Other vendors you can look up: Tyvak, NanoAvionics, Adcole, Pumpkin Space

The Horizons of CubeSat Technology: 

"Learn a Lot - The Hard Way" with Sarah Rogers, Phoenix CubeSat Design:

NASA CubeSat 101:

Online Dashboard for Sharing Data (example): 

Phoenix CubeSat

Shared by Sarah Rogers, Systems Engineer, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Congratulations Coral (Bolivia): GOSATS Pilot Class, Spring 2022











































Technical Paper: LINK


Check out this presentation from studnets being mentored by Lockheed Martin employees.  (Executive HS Internship Program.

May 10, 2022-Final Presentations






Tiger's Ebb Website LINK

Aphelion Aerospace News - Phase I CubeSat Sim Kits: LINK


Support teams in need by donating today!

You can select  S2B2O in the dropdown menu to help purchase kits for teams in need. 

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