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Student Teams Follow in Rocket Pioneers' Footsteps, Launch Rockets and Earn Recognition from NASA Student Launch Initiative
Daniel Kanigan
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News Release: 07-049

Students watch as a rocket takes to the skies April 21 as part of NASA's Student Launch Initiative. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Just minutes from where NASA rocket pioneers created the massive Saturn V rocket that launched the first humans to the moon, a new generation of rocket scientists launched their vehicles to the skies on Saturday, April 28, as part of the NASA Student Launch Initiative.

For the students -- 15 middle and high school teams from 12 states -- the launch culminated a school year of work designing innovative rockets. With rockets flying a mile high, the launch was the high point, literally, of three days of events sponsored and hosted by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

With the Boeing Company as a major sponsor, this year's competition challenged each student team to design, build and test a rocket; prepare a scientific payload to ride on board; post a Web site of their own design that showcases their work; and present formal project reviews to a panel of NASA engineers.

"This is one of many NASA education projects that encourages young people to test their math and science skills in practical, real-world situations," said Tammy Rowan, interim manager of Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office. "We hope the model rocket builders of today become the scientists, engineers, astronauts or educators of tomorrow." The events began April 26, when teams brought their rockets to the Marshall Center for a presentation to NASA employees. Students from each team explained how their rocket would work and described the nature and value of the scientific payload it would carry.

Later, students toured the Marshall Center, visiting the Payload Operations Center -- the science command post for the International Space Station, and the Environmental Control and Life Support System facility -- the life support system that provides the space station with clean air, a comfortable living environment and potable, or drinkable, water. Other tour stops included visits to the test stands where NASA engineers fired the full-sized engines for the space shuttle and the engines that powered the Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts to the moon, and a visit to the Exploration Launch Projects Office, where students learned about NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle, which will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle and its crew to Earth orbit. Students also visited the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, home to Space Camp.

On Saturday morning, the teams made their way to Test Area One Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville – the Army installation that houses the Marshall Center – where they finally let their rockets soar.

Teams recognized with plaques for their outstanding work in developing and launching their rockets were from Benson High School in Omaha, Neb.; Boy Scout Troop 39 in Marlborough, Conn.; Byron High School in Byron, Ill.; Covenant Christian High School in Indianapolis, Ind.; Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colo.; Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield, Va.; Madison West High School in Madison, Wis.; Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla.; Southfield High School in Southfield, Mich.; St. Andrews Lutheran Church and School in Park Ridge, Ill.; Statesville Christian High School in Statesville, N.C.; Warner Robins High School in Warner Robins, Ga.; Weare Middle School/John Stark Regional High School in Weare, N.H.; West Point-Beemer High School in West Point, Neb.; and Yough High School in Herminie, Pa.

The Student Launch Initiative is managed by the Marshall Center in partnership with the Boeing Company and the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association.

For more information, visit the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Web site at:

For more information on the Student Launch Initiative, visit:

For more information on research at NASA, visit:

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