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NASA Helps Visually Impaired Students Rocket On


July 13, 2006, Twelve visually impaired or blind high school students will have the opportunity to explore careers in rocketry as part of a partnership between NASA and the National Federation of the Blind.

The students are participating in a weeklong rocket science camp, July 14-22, at the federation’s Jernigan Institute in Baltimore and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va.

The camp is called “Rocket On!” At the camp, students will learn about rocketry during classes and workshops. The students will also develop and build sensors for a payload on a rocket launched from Wallops.

While at Wallops, the students will assume the roles of NASA mission control personnel as they conduct the mission. Students will participate in various reviews, practice countdowns, final rocket and payload preparations. The launch is scheduled between 6 and 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 19, with July 20 as the backup date.

“NASA believes every student has endless capabilities, and we try to reach all students. This is the third year NASA has used its unique educational resources to support the Rocket On! camp,” said John Hairston, Jr., the agency’s acting assistant administrator for education. “NASA will continue to explore educational opportunities that compete for the minds, imaginations and career ambitions of America’s young people.”

The students will use MathTrax software, a calculator that enables them to visualize data by translating information into an easily accessible text or audio description. Developed by NASA’s Learning Technologies Program at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the free MathTrax computer application may be downloaded for Windows and Macintosh platforms at:

The Wallops launch will be webcast live beginning at 5 a.m. EDT July 19, at:


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