CubeSat finalists readying for flight

Finalists in the University of Southern Maine’s first CubeSat Design Competition include teams from Portland and Falmouth schools.

Each team designed a CubeSat, which is a type of miniature satellite used for space research. Earning finalist status means that the teams can now begin building their CubeSats for launch in mid to late June.

The design competition challenged student teams to perform a complex engineering task to spur creativity and gain experience in the engineering design process. The inaugural competition received many strong submissions from across the state, according to Scott Eaton, USM assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

A panel of judges selected the following local high school teams and middle school team as finalists:

Grade 9-12, Falmouth High School, NAPSat: CubeSat Solar Arrays; Portland High School, MagSat 1: Magnetorquer CubeSat Attitude Control

Grade 6-8, Lincoln Middle School, Portland, Atmospheric Monitoring CubeSat

Other finalists included teams from Winslow High School and Noble and Maranacook middle schools.

The teams will compete for overall competition winner and Best in Show. A launch date is tentatively scheduled for June 26, but may be shifted a week earlier or later based on weather and availability.

Luc Dietlin, a PHS junior and member of the Portland High School team who wants to be an engineer, said, “I am very excited about the build-and-test phase. I have never done anything like this, engineering-wise, so this will be a super cool experience and a step into my future. I am really looking forward to it.”

Community College System honors Portland student

Andrea Atkinson, of Portland, was one of seven students honored by the Maine Community College System Board of Trustees on April 28 as 2021 Students of the Year. The students were selected for their academic success and campus and community involvement. Honorees received John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Awards of $1,000 each.

Atkinson is enrolled in the liberal studies program at Southern Maine Community College with a concentration in art. She is the public relations director for the Student Senate, president of Phi Theta Kappa, a leader in her community and an advocate for other students.

Retailer donates to South Portland school

Burlington Stores, through its partnership with the national nonprofit AdoptAClassroom.org, has donated $5,000 towards school supplies to Waldo T. Skillin Elementary School in South Portland in celebration of its new store now open at 200 Running Hill Road in South Portland.

According to Principal Bethany Connolly, teachers will use the funds for classroom items, such as instructional materials, incentives, art and music supplies, multicultural books and hands-on learning materials.

“Our teachers are so excited to purchase the tools they need, Connolly said. “We are thankful for the support we received from Burlington and AdoptAClassroom.org.”