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Students And Educators Attending NASA’s Rocket University

June 17, 2011

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will become Rocket University June 18 – 25 as nearly 125 high school educators and university students and instructors spend the week learning about rocketry and conducting science experiments in space.

During the week NASA will conduct the fourth annual RockOn! workshop for university level participants and the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) for high schoolteachers.

Joyce Winterton, senior advisor for education and leadership development at Wallops, said “This week will provide opportunities for students and educators to gain hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math and expand our educational pipeline to bring students into STEM careers.”

RockOn!, conducted with the Colorado and Virginia and Space Grant Consortia, is designed to provide participants an introductory session in building small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets.

The nearly 30 participants will build standardized experiments that will fly on a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket set to launch between 6 and 10 a.m. EDT on June 23. The 35-foot-tall rocket is expected to fly to an altitude of 75 miles. After launch and payload recovery, the participants will conduct preliminary data analysis and discuss their results.

In addition to the nine workshop-built experiments, eight custom-built, self-contained experiments also will fly on the rocket inside a payload canister known as RockSat-C. These experiments were developed at universities that previously had participated in a RockOn! workshop.
University participants in RockSat-X who are flying four custom-built experiments in July from Wallops also will be in attendance. These universities had previously participated in RockSat-C.

The inaugural WRATS program will give high school teachers a technical flight experience to reinforce STEM concepts they teach in their classrooms. During the week, 20 teachers from 13 states will learn about the dynamics of rocketry and the science gained from suborbital sounding rockets. They also will attend the NASA sounding rocket launch on June 23.

The Teaching From Space office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is partnering with the Wallops Flight Facility on the WRATS program. The program continues NASA’s investment in the nation’s education programs by supporting the goal of attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to future space exploration.

For more information about the WRATS programs, visit: http://education.wff.nasa.gov

The RockOn! workshop is supported by the NASA Sounding Rocket Program, NASA’s Office of Education and NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia.      

For more information on RockOn! and RockSat, visit: http://spacegrant.colorado.edu/rockon

For more information about NASA’s education programs visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education




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