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For release: 12/08/03
Release #: 03-209  

Huntsville area schools win grants to participate in NASA rocketry program

Student groups from Lee High School and New Century Technology High School, both of Huntsville, Ala., and Athens Bible School of Athens, Ala., have each been awarded a grant of $2,500 to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative

Lee High School will be the first local school to announce its award at a student assembly Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 9 a.m. Garry Lyles, manager of NASA's Next Generation Launch Technology Program, and a representative from the Education Programs office will be on hand for the presentation. New Century Technology High School and Athens Bible School will announce their awards during student assemblies later this month.

Managed by the Education Program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, the Student Launch Initiative seeks to motivate students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. It allows teams of high school students to experience hands-on, practical aerospace and engineering projects similar to what they would find in a professional environment. Under the guidance of engineers at the Marshall Center, students design, build and launch a rocket as a first step toward the goal of ultimately flying to an altitude of 1 mile.

High schools within a 50-mile radius of Huntsville can submit proposals for participation in the Student Launch Initiative program. This school year's launch event, set for spring 2004, will feature the three Huntsville area teams launching their rockets.

"There's a real need to excite young people about careers in science and engineering, and we believe the Student Launch Initiative can help," said Jim Pruitt, manager of the Marshall Education Programs Department. "It gives them a preview of what it's like to actually work in an engineering environment, and this exposure could inspire the students to be our next generation of explorers."

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

For more information:
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Martin Jensen
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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