NASA Launches Suborbital Rocket From Wallops With Student Experiments

Image Credit: NASA Wallops Optics Lab

Image Credit: NASA Wallops Optics Lab

June 25, 2016 – NASA successfully launched a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying student experiments with the RockOn/RockSat-C programs at 6 a.m. EDT today. More than 200 middle school and university students and instructors participating in Rocket Week at Wallops were on hand to witness the launch.

The payload flew to an altitude of 71.4 miles and descended by parachute into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops. Payload recovery is in progress, after which the participants will retrieve and analyze the data collected.

Image Credit: NASA Wallops Optics Lab

Image Credit: NASA Wallops Optics Lab

RockOn’s 72 participants received instruction on the basics of building a scientific payload for flight on a suborbital rocket and then had three days to produce their experiment kits. All kits were then incorporated into the rocket payload.

Through the RockSat-C program, undergraduate student teams from across the country also flew their experiments on the rocket. These students took what they had learned through the RockOn program in previous years and developed more complex experiments.

“RockOn-RockSat is a three-tier program designed to encourage university students to advance their skills in developing experiments for space flight,” explained Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Grant Consortium. “After completing the program, students will have the hands-on skills sought by employers from students entering the workforce.”

RockOn is in its eighth year while RockSat-C is in its seventh year.

The RockOn and RockSat programs are supported by the NASA Sounding Rocket Program. RockOn is supported by NASA’s Office of Education, as well as the agency’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia.