Wallops Island, Virginia. June 26, 2014 – The RockOn Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket containing multiple student-built experiments launched successfully today from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch is part of the 7th annual RockOn! workshop, conducted in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia.
The 2014 RockOn! program is giving students and instructors from 61 community colleges and universities across the country an opportunity to learn the basics of experiment design, including programming and electronics. The students have only three days to build their scientific payload, which measures acceleration, spin rate, radiation, humidity, pressure and temperature during the rocket flight.
“It’s a hands-on learning experience that will prepare participating students for their future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and provide the educators with information to expand opportunities for students in the classroom,” said Joyce Winterton, Wallops senior advisor for education and leadership development.
The launch occurred at 7:21 a.m. EDT. According to preliminary information from NASA Wallops, the payload flew to an altitude of 73.3 miles and landed via parachute 43.9 miles from Wallops Island in the Atlantic Ocean. The payload was recovered and has been returned to Wallops, where the students will conduct preliminary analysis on their experiments later this afternoon.
The rocket also carried a group of more complex experiments from the RockSat-C program. These experiments are developed by students, many of whom have participated in a previous RockOn! workshop, from Mitchell Community College, Statesville, North Carolina; West Virginia University, Morgantown; Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin; Temple University, Philadelphia; and Howard University in Washington.
“The RockOn! and RockSat-C programs are part of an effort to expand students’ skills in developing experiments for spaceflight,” said Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. “These two programs, coupled with RockSat-X, which requires an even more advanced skillset, will help prepare these students for future careers in the aerospace industry and at NASA.”