Colorado Space Grant Consortium Supports Student Rocket Launch From Wallops

Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Black

Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Black

June 24, 2016 – NASA successfully launched a Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying student experiments with the RockOn/RockSat-C programs at 6:06 a.m. EDT, June 24, 2016.

More than 200 middle school, high school, community college and university students and instructors participating in Rocket Week at Wallops were on hand to witness the launch.

The rocket carried 22 experiments from the RockOn! program, nine experiments from the RockSat-C program and more than 80 small cubes with experiments developed by middle school students in 49 states as part of the Cubes in Space program, a partnership between idoodlelearning inc. and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

The payload flew to an altitude of 74 miles and descended by parachute into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops. Payload recovery is in progress. Students should have their experiments in hand today and will begin data analysis.

Through RockOn and RockSat-C students learn and apply skills required to develop experiments for suborbital rocket flight. High school educators through the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers (WRATS) are learning about applying rocketry basics in their curriculum.

Conducted with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia, RockOn! is in its ninth year, RockSat-C its eighth and WRATS is in its sixth year.

In RockOn! the participants receive instruction on the basics required in building and developing a scientific payload for flight on a suborbital rocket. After learning the basics in RockOn, students are may then participate in RockSat-C, where they design and build an experiment for rocket flight during the school year.

WRATS works with high school teachers to show them the basics of rocketry and how to take what they learn into the classroom. Educators receive instruction on the basics of rocketry including Newton’s Laws, electronic fundamentals, drag and propulsion. This instruction is applied to hands-on learning activities including building and launching model rockets.

Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, said, “RockOn!/RockSat is a three-tier program that takes students from learning to crawl, through the baby steps and then on to walking in scientific experiment development. They will advance not only their technical skill sets but also those of working with others and becoming team leaders. These are skills that are highly sought by employers.”

The next launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket currently scheduled between 6 and 10 a.m., August 16. The rocket will be carrying the RockSat-X education payload.

Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Black

Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Black