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SWOSU Students Boost Technical Skills at NASA Wallops’ Rocket Week

 Rocket Week at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in VirginiaTwo Southwestern Oklahoma State University students in Weatherford recently participated in Rocket Week at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. SWOSU representatives were (from left) program coordinator Madeline Baugher, Zack Reyes of Merritt and Hayden Webb of Duncan.

Two Southwestern Oklahoma State University students in Weatherford boosted their technical skills as rocket scientists building experiments for space flight during Rocket Week that concluded June 21 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Zack Reyes of Merritt and Hayden Webb of Duncan were among nearly 200 students and instructors from across the country that built and flew experiments on a NASA suborbital sounding rocket through the RockOn! and RockSat-C programs. Accompanying them was Madeline Baugher, who is SWOSU’s program coordinator for the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium

NASA has embarked on a journey to return humans to the Moon by 2024,” said Giovanni Rosanova, chief of the NASA Sounding Rocket Program Office at Wallops. “STEM programs using sounding rockets, such as RockOn! and RockSat-C, are beneficial to improve the skills of students that will enter the workforce as we journey back to the Moon and on to Mars and continue exploring Earth and space.

Rocket Week culminated with the launch of a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying the students’ experiments. The rocket is 36 feet long and the payload weighs 667 pounds.

The rocket carried 28 experiments (measuring acceleration, humidity, pressure, temperature and radiation counts) from the RockOn! Program, nine experiments in the RockSat-C program and more than 80 small cubes with experiments developed by middle school and high school students as part of the Cubes in Space program, a partnership between idoodlelearning inc. and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium.

The rocket flew the student experiments to nearly 73-miles altitude. The experiments landed via parachute in the Atlantic Ocean where they were recovered by boat. The participants then began data analysis.

Participants in RockOn! receive instruction on the basics required to develop a scientific payload for flight on a suborbital rocket. After learning the basics in RockOn!, students may then participate in RockSat-C, where during the school year they design and build a more complicated experiment for rocket flight.

The RockOn! and RockSat-C programs are supported by the NASA Sounding Rocket Program. RockOn! also is supported by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement and NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia, as well as the program participants.