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NASA Names 18 Teams Of Young Rocketeers to Fly High in 2007-2008 Student Launch Initiative
Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News release: 07-130

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – NASA has tapped 18 middle and high school teams across 12 states to fly high in the 2007-2008 Student Launch Initiative rocketeering challenge.

The annual challenge is designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, math and technology -- fields vital to NASA's ongoing mission in space and to the continued economic prosperity of the nation.

Founded in 2001, the Student Launch Initiative is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The challenge gives students hands-on, practical experience in managing aerospace and engineering projects similar to those found in a professional environment. Guided by Marshall Center engineers and their own science and math teachers, the teams participating in the project will spend eight months designing, building and launching rockets with built-in, working science payloads and a goal of flying to an altitude of 1 mile.

Student teams are eligible to participate for up to two years. Schools may field more than one team. Each new team receives a $2,500 grant and a travel stipend from NASA, and each returning team receives a $1,250 grant.

New participants this year include teams from W.G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C.; Frenship High School in Wolfforth, Texas; Krueger Middle School in San Antonio, Texas; Washington County 4-H of Slinger, Wis.; Seabrook Intermediate School in Seabrook, Texas; Millington High School in Millington, Mich.; Stone Middle School in Huntsville, Ala.; two teams from Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla.; and Madison West High School in Madison, Wis.

Returning student teams picked to participate in the 2007 challenge include Benson High School in Omaha, Neb.; Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield, Va.; St. Andrew's Lutheran School in Park Ridge, Ill.; Statesville Christian School in Statesville, N.C.; Byron Middle School in Byron, Ill.; Weare Middle School in Dunbarton, N.H.; West Point-Beemer High School in West Point, Neb.; and Yough High School in Herminie, Pa.

"We're extremely thrilled to welcome, and welcome back, so many stellar teams for this year's challenge," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office. "The Student Launch Initiative is one of dozens of education programs and projects NASA and the Marshall Center conduct each year to encourage new generations to explore, learn and help build a better future for us all. Nowhere is the enthusiasm and ingenuity needed to achieve those goals more evident than among our Student Launch Initiative rocketeers."

The 2007-2008 challenge will conclude with a final activity of launching each team’s rocket in the Huntsville area in April 2008.

More about the Student Launch Initiative

Initially created as a local project for schools in North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley, the Student Launch Initiative was expanded in 2003 to invite entries from the Top 25 finalists in the annual Team America Rocketry Challenge in The Plains, Va., sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. The Marshall Center issues a request for proposals each August, which begins the year-long project.

The unique, hands-on experience challenges students not just to design and fly working rockets. Each team also will develop a project Web site and will write and submit a preliminary design review, a critical design review, a flight readiness review and a post-launch analysis report -- just like NASA engineers working actual flight missions. They're also required to help inspire other young people, by holding at least two local outreach projects designed to introduce the thrill of rocketry to younger students.

For more information about the Student Launch Initiative, visit: