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01-074
For Release: September 21, 2001

Pamelia Caswell
Media Relations Office
216/433-2901


New "Star" Lets Learning Shine

Students from 20 Ohio schools and social organizations have good reason to watch the September 21 launch of the Starshine 3 satellite from Kodiak Island, Alaska, at 9:30 p.m. They polished some of the 1,500 mirrors that will make the satellite visible to the naked eye and allow the students to learn about Earth as they measure the satellite's position in the sky.

Fifteen of the 20 schools are in Northeast Ohio.

"That's probably in large part because, when NASA Glenn and OAI agreed -- jumped at the chance, really -- to design and build the power supply for Starshine, we learned about the exciting way school children could be involved in building the satellite, said Principal Investigator Phillip Jenkins, of OAI, Cleveland, Ohio. "We talked about it to our families, our kid's schools, to friends and even friends of friends who are teachers."

The Starshine 3 satellite is nearly a meter in diameter (37 inches), weighs 91 kilograms (200 pounds) and is covered with 1,500 mirrors polished by students from around the world. Once the satellite is in low Earth orbit, students will track it and measure its orbital decay (how quickly it is falling back to Earth). From the collection of world-wide data, students and adults can calculate the thickness of the upper atmosphere and even the effect of solar flares on it.

"Project Starshine is a great program that involves students in nearly all the stages of a science mission -- from building the satellite through data collection and interpretation," said Henry Curtis, of the Photovoltaics and Space Environment Effects Branch at Glenn.

The ambitious Project Starshine plan is for students around the world to study Earth's upper atmosphere for the full 11-year sun cycle through a series of Starshine satellites. Each satellite remains in orbit up to 1 year before burning up on reentry. Starshine 1 was launched in May 1999. Starshine 2 will be launched in the fall of 2001.

NASA Television's live coverage and commentary from Kodiak Island will begin at 7:30 p.m and continues until it has been confirmed that Kodiak Star's four satellites have been deployed. The final deployment confirmation, that of Starshine, is expected to be communicated from Antarctica approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes after launch. NASA TV is broadcast on GE-2, transponder 9 (C-Band) located at 85 degrees West longitude. Audio is also available on the V circuits that may be accessed directly by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260, -7135, or -4003. Coverage will also be webcast and may be accessed via the NASA Kennedy Space Center home page at http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/.

For more information about Project Starshine go to http://www.azinet.com/starshine/.

The list of Ohio schools participating in Starshine 3 follows:

School City School Point of Contact
Bay Village Bay Village Preschool PTA David Wilt
Bay Village Hepp Home School Maura M. Hepp
Cincinnati Princeton High School Pamela C. Farrell
Cincinnati Cincinnati Country Day School Jan French
Cincinnati Montgomery Elementary Erika Jewell
Cleveland Thomas Jefferson Middle School Bradley DiFranco
Cleveland Kentucky Elementary School Anthony Miranda
Cleveland Heights Roxboro Middle School Kathy Pahys
Columbia Station Boy Scout Troop 104 Randle R. Jones
Columbia Station Troop 795 Junior Girl Scouts Valerie Lyons
Elyria St. Jude School Grace Ogonek
Fairview Park St. Angela Elementary School Eileen Augustin
Massillon Jackson Middle School Craig W. Smith
Medina Medina Christian Academy Timothy A. Holmes
Parma Heights Incarnate Word Academy Cheryl Kaminski and Anthony Miranda
Parma Heights Parma Heights Christian Academy Dottie Fowler
Perrysburg Glenwood Elementary School Linda Cutler
Rossford Rossford High School Richard E. Lees
Strongsville Strongsville High School Laurel Odeal
Valley City Whitson Homeschool Group Elizabeth Whitson

# # #

NOTE TO EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: If today's Starshine launch is cancelled because of inclement weather in Alaska, launch attempts may be made on Saturday or Sunday (Sept. 22 or 23). Please check the Kennedy Space Center home page for up to date launch information.


 

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