NASA Challenges 350 Rocketeers Nationwide to Aim a Mile High

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA has invited more than 350 student rocketeers
from middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities -- 37
teams nationwide -- to take part in the 2009-2010 NASA Student Launch
Projects. Their challenge is to build powerful rockets of their own
design, complete with a working science payload, and launch them to
an altitude of 1 mile.

These annual rocketeering projects are the Student Launch Initiative
for middle school and high school teams and the University Student
Launch Initiative for colleges and universities. Both challenges are
designed to inspire students to parlay their interests in science,
technology, engineering and mathematics into rewarding careers in
fields critical to NASA's mission of exploration and scientific

Beginning in the fall school term, each team will spend approximately
eight months designing, building and field-testing their rocket. They
address the same physics, propulsion and flight challenges faced by
professional rocket engineers. The students also must challenge
themselves as scientists, creating a unique, on-board science
experiment that can survive the mile-high flight and yield test
results after the vehicle parachutes back to Earth.

In addition, teams will create a project Web site, write multiple
preliminary and post-launch reports, and develop educational
engagement projects for schools and youth organizations in their
communities. The goal is to inspire even younger generations of
future explorers.

The Student Launch Projects will conclude April 15-18, 2010, when the
teams gather at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala. Marshall manages the projects. NASA engineers will put the
students' rockets through a professional design review similar to
that undertaken for every NASA launch. The students then will embark
on a two-day "launchfest" at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala., where they
are cheered on each year by hundreds of Marshall team members and
North Alabama rocket enthusiasts.

"The participants in NASA's Student Launch Projects continue to
demonstrate the sky is no limit for enterprising young minds
committed to creativity, innovation and teamwork," said Tammy Rowan,
manager of the Academic Affairs Office at Marshall, which organizes
the event. "As a new rocket-building season gets under way and we
head toward another exhilarating launch event next April, many of
these industrious young people are headed toward rewarding careers in
which they'll lead new journeys of exploration and discovery -- not
just to Earth's lower troposphere, but to other worlds."

New Student Launch Initiative teams hail from middle schools and high
schools in Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington
and Wisconsin. Returning teams are from Illinois, North Carolina and
Wisconsin. Middle school and high school teams taking part in the
Student Launch Initiative are eligible to participate in the
challenges up to two years. Each new team receives a $3,700 grant and
a travel stipend from NASA, and each returning team receives a $2,450

New University Student Launch Initiative teams represent colleges and
universities in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, North
Carolina and Texas. Returning teams hail from Alabama, Arkansas,
Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North
Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee. College and university teams
taking part in the University Student Launch Initiative seek funding
from their state's Space Grant Consortium, and are not limited to two
years of eligibility. The University Student Launch Initiative is a
competitive event sponsored by ATK Space Systems of Magna, Utah,
which contributes prizes, including a $5,000 check for the
first-place winner.

The Student Launch Projects are collaboratively sponsored by NASA's
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Space Operations Mission
Directorate and Education Flight Projects. NASA held the first
student launch event in 2001. As its popularity grew, NASA created in
2006 the twin challenges of the Student Launch Initiative for middle
schools and high schools and the University Student Launch Initiative
for colleges and universities. Marshall issues a request for
proposals each fall.

For more information about the Student Launch Projects and a list of
participating schools, visit:



For more information about other NASA education initiatives, visit:


Source: NASA

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