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NASA Selects Student Experiments to Fly on Sounding Rocket


March 14, 2006, NASA selected 10 student experiments from across the country to fly on a rocket mission June 7 from the Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

During the weeks leading up to the launch, students and their teachers will work with engineers and technicians at Wallops to prepare their experiments for flight. The student experiments will be flown on a NASA Orion suborbital sounding rocket.

In its ninth year, this program provides students the unique opportunity to participate in all aspects of a science mission. Five of the experiments will fly in the main body of the rocket’s payload section, called the Suborbital Student Experiment Module, while the other five will be placed in the nosecone.

Launched early in the morning, the 20-foot rocket is expected to carry the experiments more than 25 miles above the Earth. After descending by parachute and landing in the Atlantic Ocean, the experiments will be recovered and returned to the students later in the day. The students will examine and analyze their experiment data and present their preliminary findings to NASA personnel the following day

“The students design the experiment, build the hardware, participate in the launch process, support removing the experiments from the payload after launch and recovery, analyze the data and present their results,” said Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the NASA Sounding Rockets Program Office at Wallops. “This will be an experience they remember all their life and hopefully will guide them into science and engineering careers.”

Wireless communications, magnetic fields, fluids and payload temperatures during flight are the focus of the main payload experiments. Students also will study the effects of the flight environment, such as radiation and high gravitational forces, on a variety of materials placed in the nosecone and the payload section.

Approximately 40 students and teachers are expected to attend flight week activities at Wallops, June 5 through 8. While at Wallops they will receive instruction in rocketry and electronics and tour the NASA rocket, scientific balloon and aircraft facilities.

The schools and organizations selected:

Columbus High School, Columbus, Ga.
GlenBrook North High School, Northbrook, Ill.
Parkside High School, Salisbury, Md.
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.
Harriet Tubman School, Dolton, Ill.
Key Peninsula Middle School, Lakebay, Wash.
Wendover High School, Wendover, Utah
Graham High School, St. Paris, Ohio.
Cub Scout Pack 151, Salisbury, Md.

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