The CubeSat, a two-pound, low-cost miniature satellite, will become North Dakota's first spacecraft to orbit Earth when it's launched in December.

According to, the satellite has been in development at the University of North Dakota for more than five years. More than 100 students, faculty, and staff have assisted on the CubeSat since the project launched in 2011.

The goal of the CubeSat project is to show that a functional spacecraft can be built for just a couple thousand dollars.

The first CubeSat specifications were developed by California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University in 1999. CubeSats must have "a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms per unit and must use commercial off-the-shelf components for their electronics and structure," according to Wikipedia.

For more information regarding the University of North Dakota's CubeSat program, you can read about the program's evolution HERE.