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For release: 02/09/04
Release #: 04-017  

Dewitt Area School wins grant to compete in NASA rocketry program designed to motivate students

A student team from Manlius Pebble Hill School in Dewitt, N.Y., has been awarded a $2,500 grant to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative, a rocketry challenge designed to motivate students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. The school will recognize the team members at a student assembly Tuesday, Feb. 10.


A student team from Manlius Pebble Hill School in Dewitt, N.Y., has been awarded a $2,500 grant to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative, a rocketry challenge designed to motivate students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. The school will recognize the team members at a student assembly Tuesday, Feb. 10.

Robert Champion, NASA's contract manager for Boeing's Orbital Space Plane project at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will make the presentation on behalf of the agency. The Orbital Space Plane program was created in 2002 to develop International Space Station requirements for crew rescue, crew transport and contingency cargo such as supplies, food and other needed equipment. The program will serve as the foundation for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, one of the new space exploration initiatives recently announced by the President as part of his new vision for the nation's space program. A representative of the Marshall Center 's Education Programs Department, which manages the Student Launch Initiative for NASA, will also be on hand.

The Student Launch Initiative gives teams of high school students hands-on, practical experience in managing aerospace and engineering projects — similar to those found in a professional environment. Guided by Marshall Center engineers, participating students design, build and launch a rocket with the goal of flying to an altitude of 1 mile.

"Giving students the hands-on experience of building rockets can open their minds to a variety of new ideas," Champion said. "Those new ideas may generate discoveries about space travel no one else has ever considered, and our hope is to foster those ideas with this program."

Last spring, Manlius Pebble Hill School finished fourth among 100 teams in the nation-wide Team America Rocketry Challenge in The Plains, Va. Their top-10 finish made the school eligible to submit a proposal to participate in the initiative. Judged by a team of Marshall Center engineers on the basis of technical expertise, safety and cost, their proposal was accepted late last year.

Manlius and five other teams will take part in this school year's Student Launch event, scheduled this spring.

"Young people need to get excited about careers in science and engineering, and we think the Student Launch Initiative does just that," said Jim Pruitt, manager of the Marshall Education Programs Department. "It provides actual work experience in an engineering environment. This exposure could inspire participating students to become our next generation of explorers."

For more information about the Student Launch Initiative or other NASA Education programs, please visit these Web sites:

http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/sli

http://www.nasa.gov

For more information:
News release


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