• Seed round will finance expansion of Ardusat platform, enabling K-12 and higher ed students to conduct science and technology experiments in space and on earth
• Edtech startup also announces launch of an open data repository, where students can post experiment results for public academic use
SALT LAKE CITY — February 25, 2015 — Ardusat, an education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, today announced it has secured a total of $1 million in seed funding from Space Florida, Fresco Capital, Spire and other investors. The capital will finance the expansion of Ardusat's Experiment Platform, which enables K-12 and higher education students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through custom experiments conducted in space or on earth.
"We're excited about what our platform expansion will mean for student engagement in STEM education, and we're grateful to our investors for realizing this important vision," said Ardusat President Sunny Washington. "In addition to running experiments in space through our satellite program, students will be able to leverage their creativity to a broader range of possibilities, including sending experiments into the atmosphere on high-altitude balloons or attaching sensors to downhill skiers to collect kinetic data."
The funding and platform expansion follows Ardusat's public launch last August, which made the company's product available for the first time during the 2014-2015 academic year. Prior to the expansion, Ardusat's platform and curriculum focused on enabling K-12 students and teachers to conduct multidisciplinary experiments in space, featuring the ability to control — via remote upload — experiments conducted on small satellites called "cubesats," which contain sensors built to collect educational data. In roughly six months since launching, Ardusat has attracted nearly 50 customers in 12 U.S. states and six countries.
In connection with the funding and platform expansion, Ardusat today announced the launch of the Experiment Platform, an open data repository, where students can post results and data from their experiments for public use. The repository is designed to facilitate long-arc, iterative research and peer-to-peer academic interactions among students using the Ardusat platform for STEM education.
"Immersive programs, like the ones Ardusat is implementing, are just what we need in our school system to get more students excited about STEM careers," said Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello. "It's critical to engage our next generation of scientists and engineers early on. Providing hands-on opportunities to create and execute experiments in space is a wonderful way to make that happen. We are looking forward to seeing these programs implemented in Florida schools."
Ardusat's platform expansion comes amid efforts by the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of college graduates in high-demand STEM fields. Currently, there is nearly 50 percent attrition among students seeking bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines. The federal government currently dedicates more than $3 billion toward STEM education initiatives each year.
Ardusat originated as the exclusive educational partner of Spire (formerly Nanosatisfi), a San Francisco-based company that builds cubesats for commercial use. Ardusat experiments will operate in Earth's orbit via Spire cubesats, which are launched into space through rideshare opportunities with larger satellites or similar devices. These cubesats transit the planet in low-earth orbit at 4.79 miles per second to collect data on sensors that measure everything from light to temperature to even radiation levels.
Ardusat is an education technology company that provides the unique opportunity to connect the universe to the classroom. With our next generation learning resources, students can create their own satellite experiments and collect real-world space-data. We provide teachers with STEM curriculum resources, professional development, and hands-on materials that give students an experience that is truly out of this world.
Ardusat is the exclusive education partner of Spire, recognized as a leader in space-based data collection.
Ashlyn Hewlett, Method Communications