Clarke County

UGA to launch its own satellite into space, will study health of Georgia’s coast

ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia is joining the space race. A group of students headed to Virginia Thursday night to launch UGA’s first satellite, but the launch was scrapped at the last minute.

Regardless, the students are super excited about the project.

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan learned that aerospace is a nearly $70 billion industry in Georgia, so this is incredible training.

The students built a small satellite about the size of a loaf of bread that will have a big impact on Georgia’s coast.

“Being able to really actually touch something that’s going into space was just incredible,” student Jack McDaniels said.

“I honestly still can’t believe it,” said student Claire Venenga.

After four years of hard work, it’s a dream come true for the nearly 40 students at UGA’s small satellite research lab.

NASA is taking their satellite to space on a rocket Thursday night.


“To be the first people to get up to space is really significant and meaningful to me,” McDaniels said.

The students told Monahan that the satellite will be in space for up to two years. It will use a powerful camera to study the health of Georgia’s coast.

“It’s really astounding actually. It will be saving companies so much money, being able to test sciences on such tiny little spacecraft,” Venenga said.

The lab creates aerospace training for undergrad students, and for seniors like Venenga and McDaniels, it’s opening career doors like internships at NASA.

“To see them, you know, figure out all these problems and then also the ones that have graduated move on to actually get positions that they dream of having their whole lives I mean it’s incredibly rewarding,” said Dr. David Cotton, with UGA’s Satellite Research Lab.

There is no word on when the launch will be rescheduled.