On Friday, March 11 at 8:30 a.m., students in Waimea High School's VidRoc class, which stands for Video Rocket, will live stream the launch of their Arcas rocket along with its electronics payload consisting of a camera, Global Positioning System (GPS), microphone, antenna, battery and transmitter.
"These students are soaring to new heights with this launch, and we are excited that people from around the world will be able to tune in and watch it live," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "We are proud of Waimea High School's VidRoc class for all of their hard work, and wish them the best of luck as we count down with excitement and anticipation."
Eight students in the VidRoc class, which utilizes project-based learning, have been conducting test launches since June 2015. Juniors Justin Fune, Kai Lansdell and Elijah Nishihira, as well as seniors Brandon Ijima, Levi Sagucio, Melia Okura, Riley Saiki and Briggs Agu, are the first students in Hawaii to live stream a rocket launch, versus sending a camera up and collecting the footage once the rocket has landed.
"I feel that this project has presented opportunities to develop and apply critical thinking skills to overcome the many challenges that new technology creates," said Nishihira. "This is a chance for us to represent our families, school and island to show that we can do great things and go farther than anybody else."
The goal of the launch is to successfully establish a connection between the rocket, a satellite in orbit and a ground control station to create the live stream transmission. The rocket's camera is positioned in a "lookdown" angle giving the appearance that viewers are riding the rocket as it pulls away from earth. Viewers from around the world including Africa, Australia, Europe, Southeast Asia and Fiji have already committed to watching.
"After months of building and planning, these students are ready to see the culmination of their hard work," said Principal Mahina Anguay. "We are proud of these students and applaud them for shining a spotlight on Waimea High School and Kauai by implementing the technology needed to live stream the launch."
The next step for these VidRoc students will be to upgrade from an analog to a digital video signal during their next launch, but for now, the focus remains on successfully executing tomorrow's launch.