June 06, 2005

More Real Rocket Science

I humbly admit to a small role in getting young people involved in aerospace engineering by acting as a mentor during the Team America Rocket Challenges (TARC) of the last three years.

I've also spent time talking to students who're building and launching CanSat payloads (real electronic payloads fit into a space the size of a coke can). Almost every month at our scheduled club rocket launches, we get several teams testing new designs for both TARC and CanSats.

Some of those kids have gone on to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative (SLI) program.

Some of the kids involved have gone on to college and are now working towards a career in aerospace. When they do, they get to do things like the Virginia Tech Sounding Rocket Project.

The mission is being sponsored by NASA's Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSROC) in Wallops Island, Virginia. NSROC has provided Virginia Tech with manufacturing of most payload components, a rocket motor, as well as official engineering analysis of the design. As part of the process, the students have attended 4 professional meetings at the NASA Wallops facility and have gotten the opportunity to collaborate with NSROC engineers on how to improve the design of the payload. The launch will take place on Wallops Island in mid-May of 2005.

Jealous? You bet I am.

The payload weighs approximately 190 pounds and is about 10.3 feet in length. The Orion motor will carry this payload to an altitude of nearly 60 miles above the surface of the Earth in approximately 150 seconds. After apogee, the payload will reenter, a parachute will deploy, and the payload will splash down in the ocean. A recovery team will then retrieve the payload from the water, and then will be brought back to NSROC's facility where it will be taken apart. The MAGIC instrument will be returned to NRL for analysis and the students will analyze the rocket flight data obtained through telemetry transmissions.

They recently made their successful launch. Check out preflight coolness, and then some launch and recovery pictures. Thanks to Professor Chris Hall for sharing this. Now, how can I get one of those decals for my rocket?

Posted by Ted at June 6, 2005 12:15 PM
Category: Rocketry Space Program
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