That includes the manual work of assembling the parts that will go into the satellite, as well as writing the computer code that will tell those parts what they need to do while the satellite is in the air.
There's more, though. It's not just Oliver's computer science classes that are working on the satellite: English classes have been writing press releases about the project. Physics students have been working on the math. The idea is to get all of South Charleston High's students involved, all 1,100 of them.
"It's a whole hodgepodge of people, and that's the beauty of this project," Imel said.
The teachers hope that, if the project is a success, they can replicate it at the school again next year. Then they want to take what they've learned and develop a curriculum to share with other schools across the district and the state.
They see it as an integral part of the push for more focus on STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- in schools in West Virginia and across the nation.
Educators generally agree that hands-on activities are the best way to get kids interested in these disciplines, which are becoming increasingly important in the 21st century.
Tiffany Grigsby, an 11th-grader who is working on the satellites, is one of the students who needs no convincing. She wants to go into aerospace or aeronautical engineering in college and maybe work for NASA. For her, the satellite project is the ideal science project.
"I love outer space," she said. "The unknown is so interesting. You don't know a lot about it, and I'm here to learn ... building a satellite is the perfect thing."
Grigsby is a self-professed hands-on learner. She doubts she could learn how to build a satellite from a book, but she knows she'll emerge from this class with those skills.
"And then it's not just that you know what's in there, it's that you understand what's in there."
The class is using crowd sourcing to raise money to purchase equipment for the project. To donate, visit indiegogo.com/projects/near-space-project.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.