NASA Hosts RockOn! Workshop For Student Rocket Payloads

Participants work on their experiments for flight during the 2014 RockOn workshop. Image Credit: NASA

Participants work on their experiments for flight during the 2014 RockOn workshop. Image Credit: NASA

February 4, 2016 – Do you know how to solder? NASA is seeking university and community college participants interested in building science payloads for space flight during the ninth annual RockOn! workshop June 18 – 23 at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Registration is open to students and faculty through May 2 for RockOn! 2016, an annual workshop held in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. Participants must be classified as U.S. persons to participate in the workshop.

Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the sounding rocket program office at Wallops, said, “The program has shown to be invaluable to the participants in gaining the basic knowledge and skills needed to develop science instruments for space flight on a NASA sounding rocket. We look forward to working with the participants who seek to explore space and our home planet.”

During the workshop, teams of three will work together to build experiment payloads for flight on a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket predicted to fly to an altitude of 73 miles. The flight is planned for June 23, the last day of the workshop.

“During the workshop students and faculty members working as a team will learn the basics of developing an experiment including programing, wiring, and mounting,” said Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. “In addition, the participants see the advanced details in preparing the rocket for launch and sending it into space. Viewing the launch and seeing the results is a highlight of the workshop.”

Since 2008, more than 376 people have participated in the RockOn! workshops and successfully built and launched 119 payloads to space. Images and information from past years’ workshops can be found at the RockOn! website.

The workshop is open to all interested with the following conditions:

  • Participants MUST know how to solder and MUST have practiced before attending the workshop.

  • Participants MUST be familiar with the C, C++, or Arduino programming language. All the code is provided during the workshop so don’t let this deter you from coming to the workshop.

  • Participants MUST be a U.S. Person (US Citizen or US Permanent Resident). Due to security requirements at Wallops Flight Facility, U.S. Person status is required. If you are not a U.S. person, please contact Chris Koehler before proceeding.

  • For questions about the workshop or registration process, please contact Chris Koehler at or by phone at 303-492-4750.