In late July 2016, 15 teams, each comprising primary and secondary school students, helped to launch two large rockets into space from Fort Carson Army Post in Colorado in the US. The event was part of the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Defence, Space and Security, and the Space Foundation. ULA works towards attracting children to STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The larger of the two rockets was the approximately 15 metre Future Heavy rocket, weighing 544 kg. The other rocket was named Genesis, and was three metres long. The school students and interns from ULA and the Space Foundation have spent the last four years building the rockets.
After the necessary checks and countdowns, students were thrilled to see Future Heavy launch successfully, generating 66 000 pounds of thrust, reaching its goal altitude of 3 048 metres and successfully deploying all payloads.
The students were also involved in creating the payloads for Future Heavy. They worked with 41 mentors and 105 interns from ULA to create a kindergarten experiment in solar physics, as well as an approximation of the Mars Curiosity rover’s entry, descent and landing when it landed on Mars.
Other experiments are being carried out to draw children to future careers in various scientific fields. British astronaut Tim Peake recently returned to Earth after spending 186 days on the International Space Station (ISS). Whilst aboard the ISS, Peake created various physics and chemistry experiments and filmed them, so that students on earth could recreate them and learn about things like gravity.
Says Peake, he wanted to show all children that no matter where they come from, “You can be an astronaut, and you can join the European Space Agency, and you can go to the moon.”
Category: Summer 2016