|NASA features UND-led student rocket launch|
Earlier this week, North Dakota's second educational rocket lifted off at a site near Harwood, N.D. Flying off in a brisk south breeze, the student-engineered and built rocket delivered a picture-perfect flight and landed with no problems after both its drogue and main parachutes opened.
The 12-foot rocket and its portable launch pad were designed, built, and controlled in the field by a team of students, faculty, and volunteers led by UND astrophysicist Tim Young under a project funded, in part, by the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium. The rocket made its inaugural flight last fall.
"This was great, everything worked perfectly," exclaimed Young, who actually called the countdown and delivered the wireless signal that ignited the rocket's solid fuel motor (a miniature version of the system used to loft the Space Shuttle into space). The rocket project, which includes students and volunteer faculty from UND and North Dakota State University, is featured this week on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's web site (see http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/postsecondary/features/F_First_Time_for_Everything.html).
The educational rocket project is part of the NASA-sponsored consortium's multi-institution collaborative. It will allow students at several North Dakota colleges and universities to design and build science projects that could be loaded aboard the fully recoverable rocket for onboard tests, notes Pablo de Leon, a rocket team mentor and a UND aerospace engineer who is known nationally and globally for leading the consortium's Mars planetary exploration suit project. The consortium rocket team -- including members from across the state -- now will proceed to build a much bigger rocket to be launched next year, Young said.
Students are needed to form teams and guided by a mentor, faculty or specialist, to write a proposal for a scientific payload. The eight winning teams across the state and western Minnesota will receive funds to build a proof-of-concept payload. The team will fly the payload in a rocket built by the team. Along with the rocket, winning teams will get about $500 to build the payload, an altimeter, motors, payload bay, and use of facilities to launch the rocket. Please join in the experience and enter your team! We are planning a launch on Oct 20 for the public at a site to be announced, Young says.
For more information contact Tim Young, associate professor, physics, 777-2911 or 777-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org.