|North Dakota STRIPE students set for public rocket launch|
The North Dakota Student Rocket Initiative Project (ND STRIPE) will launch a 75-pound rocket in the next couple of weeks from a farm field near Harwood, N.D. If you’ve never seen a big rocket fired or if you’re an aficionado, this is the place to be. The action is fast, loud, and exciting as this big rocket soars about two miles straight up and floats back to Earth suspended below a large parachute.
Team coordinator and UND astrophysicist Tim Young says that based on the two- to three-week weather outlook, the rocket will be fired on the weekend of Oct. 20 and 21; if conditions don’t cooperate on the weekend of Oct. 20-21, then the launch will take place the following weekend, Oct. 27 or 28, from the same site.
“Yes, this is just like any big rocket or Space Shuttle launch — we depend on good, clear weather and low winds,” says Young, who with UND computer scientist Ron Marsh, also is widely known for his Webcasts of solar and lunar eclipses from places around the world. “We do not want to jeopardize the mission or risk any other kind of problems or damage by launching in bad weather. Like the big boys at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), we’re very safety conscious.”
The team has already launched successfully twice; this time, the educational rocket is expected to climb to about 9,000 feet, or about 1.7 miles up. The flight aims to try out the rocket’s onboard global positioning system (GPS) equipment and its capability to transmit data back to the ground station.
The student-built rocket also will carry student- and faculty-designed payload video camera systems, including one designed to feed a video downlink. Both camera systems will be used in future flights by other experiments to investigate conditions both in and outside the rocket and on the terrain below. For more details about these payloads and the ongoing student rocket payload contest, see www.rocket.und.edu ( http://www.rocket.und.edu/ ).
“We encourage students from North Dakota and western Minnesota universities to form teams and participate in this exciting contest,” says Young. The deadline for submitting a payload proposal idea is Nov. 16 so teams that want to participate should get going soon, he says.
For more information, contact Tim Young, UND Physics, 777-4709, email@example.com.