July 18, 2016 – Three students from Trinidad State recently completed a fast and fun week in Virginia building an experiment that was launched more than 70 miles into space. Hayden Alworth, Colin Pratt and Jordan Jones were selected to travel to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, located on the eastern shore of Virginia the week of June 17.
The students built a payload that included accelerometers, a Geiger counter to measure radiation, a temperature sensor, a humidity sensor and a gyroscope. These sensors were connected to an Arduino microcontroller that recorded data during the launch.
“When our payload was retrieved after launch,” said Alworth, “We were able to graph the data that we had collected from the sensors so we could see what went on during the flight.”
The workshop lasted seven days, ending on June 24. The launch was originally scheduled for the 23rd, but was postponed due to bad weather. The rocket was launched and retrieved the same day, on June 24.
“We learned a lot,” said Alworth. “We were able to climb into the cockpit of a flying laboratory airplane.”
They also learned how payloads get loaded into rockets. Alworth said they watched the launch from only 1,500 feet away.
Called “RockOn” the program is a joint effort of the Virginia and Colorado Space Grants Consortiums as well as NASA.