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Virginia Tech Students’ Experiments On Board Rocket Launch

Wed, 08/22/2012 - 12:37pm -- WCVE

A team from Virginia Tech is at Wallops Island tomorrow morning (Thursday, August 23), for the launch of a suborbital rocket, carrying with it their experiments--and their hopes for a future in space exploration.

WCVE Public Radio’s Charles Fishburne has more in this Science Matters report. Video segment courtesy of the University of Colorado.

Wallops Island, Va. -- University students will put their academic skills to the test when atmospheric and technology experiments they developed fly on a NASA suborbital rocket. The launch will take place between 6:30 and 10:00 a.m., Thursday, August 23, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Virginia.

Four university experiments will be flown as part of an educational project called RockSat-X, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The selected experiments for this year's RockSat launch are from Baylor University in Waco, Texas; University of Colorado at Boulder; the University of Puerto Rico; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia.

RockSat-X is part of a series of student flight programs designed to enhance students’ skills and prepare them for careers at NASA and in the aerospace industry,” said Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

The program begins with a hands-on workshop called RockOn and then proceeds to the RockSat-C and RockSat-X programs. At each level, the experiments become more complex, which provides students an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the requirements for developing space-based experiments.

The experiments will fly on a two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket to a projected altitude of 98 miles. After the 15-minute flight, the payload carrying the experiments will splash down via parachute in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 66 miles off the coast of Virginia. The 875-pound payload will be recovered for re-use and experiment analysis.

Team Photo: Virginia Tech RockSat-X Team–Stephen Noel, Ryan Hatton, Robbie Robertson, Mark Godine

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