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NASA Helps Local Student Rocket Scientists Reach for the Stars
Sonja Alexander
Headquarters, Washington

Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News release: H-07-074

Students from Madison West High School of Madison, Wis., assemble their rocket before launching it in Manchester, Tenn., during the NASA Student Launch Initiative May 6. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Some of the best student scientists from across the country are hard at work on their model rockets, set to launch into the heavens this spring as part of NASA's Student Launch Initiative.

The student teams will display and launch their vehicles at the rocket launch event hosted by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., April 25-28. Each vehicle must be designed to carry a tracking device and a recoverable science payload. The rocket itself is required to reach an altitude of one mile during flight and be reusable.

Middle and high school students from Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are taking part in the program, providing students a unique opportunity – to gain practical experience in aerospace and engineering activities.

The initiative encourages high school and college student teams to put their science, technology, engineering and math knowledge to use in a real-world situation by designing and building their own rockets with a science payload. They spend the school year fine-tuning and building their rockets.

With this project, NASA continues the agency's tradition of investing in the nation's education projects. The agency wants to foster learning environments that will inspire young people to set their sights on venturing to the moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

After the flight, the team collects data from the payload, analyzes it and reports the results to NASA engineers and scientists, who will evaluate each rocket design, including propulsion systems, materials used for construction, payload and safety features.

Participating in the project this year are twelve new teams and four returning teams from the 2005-2006 event. The new teams receive a $2,500 grant for their projects. Returning teams receive $1,250. The new teams are 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.; Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield, Va.; 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 returning teams are Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colo.; Madison West High School in Madison, Wis.; Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla.; and Southfield High School in Southfield, Mich.

The Student Launch Initiative is managed by the Marshall Center in partnership with Alabama A&M University in Huntsville -- who will host this year's launch day activities -- and the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association.

The Student Launch Initiative is not a competition. NASA will recognize teams with plaques for excellence.

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

For more information on the Student Launch Initiative, visit:

+ 2006 photos