Johns Hopkins APL Engineer Helps Teens Launch Their Futures With CubeSat Project

Dave Copeland is launching the next generation of engineers by teaching middle and high school students how to design and build a small satellite scheduled to go into orbit as early as late 2024.

Copeland, an engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, began doing seminars about CubeSats in a local makerspace in 2014. Those seminars grew, and in 2017 the Copelands and two other families founded SilverSat, a nonprofit educational organization for tweens and teens in the Silver Spring area. Now, with about 20 teens and a group of volunteer mentors on the team, the group’s unique, social-media-inspired project has been selected for a ride to space through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI).

“The kids came up with the concept, for a CubeSat that tweets,” Copeland said. “This was actually something they kicked around at the summer camp hosted by SilverSat.”