Rockets soared at our school, on April 30th –the same day news broke of China’s plans to test a reusable launch vehicle, the ‘Long March 8.’ STEAM night was quite an experience, six years since we began on this journey.
Ours too were reusable, but they were built by students from Kindergarten upwards. Made of paper, drinking straws, Popsicle sticks, and rubber bands they traveled where no rocket had gone before on the basketball court. (One flew way out of our test range, covering 70 feet!) Most were powered by rubber bands. Some preferred to use wind power – blowing them out of the launch tube! The judges were quite impressed. Said Orbital ATK engineer, Monique Dalton of one model:
While most rockets flew pretty flat and straight, this one showed a curve visible to the naked eye of the sort of trajectory rockets take in space. It was as if this rocket really was on a mission delivering a payload.
This student’s rocket traveled 58 feet, 7 inches.
Meanwhile, SpaceX, is looking for ways to go beyond ‘reusable’ into mass production of rockets, just like GM does cars. Some day one of these kids will be in Mission Control –and I’m going to watch it from my rocking chair!
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Just announced plans for Space Day at Salt River Elementary – our 6th year!
- This year’s focus is on the Moon, rockery and spacesuits.
- The student competition is to design a future spacesuit
- Each class in every grade level will experience one facet of space science
- When: Oct. 26th, 2017 Time: 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
As the event grows bigger each year, my thanks to those who will be supporting it:
- Orbital ATK, Arizona
- Jet Propulsion Lab, California
- Autonomous Collective Systems Lab, at ASU
- SpaceTRex, University of Arizona
- Challenger Space Center, Arizona
Space science is a fascinating field, and gives us who focus on STEM an ability to widen the lens. Consider some of the recent developments
This event couldn’t have been better timed. Unbeknownst to me, October 19th was a day that space pioneer, Robert Goddard had called his “Anniversary Day” — the day he thought that it just might be possible to humans to break free of gravity and travel to other planets.
Oct 19th, last Wed, turned out to be a day filled with hands-on experiences for our students who got to hear about (and see) rockets, small-space satellites, robots that could some day work in ‘teams’ or swarms on a distant planet, how to design a landing craft and parachute like the Phoenix Mars Lander, and of course sit inside a portable, inflatable planetarium
Here are some of the highlights in pictures.
SpaceTrex Group from ASU launched a rocket and talked about Small-space satellites
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, which lifted off on an Antares rocket Oct 17th (two days before Space Day) carrying 5,290 pounds of cargo for NASA to the International Space Station.
The little bot that runs on Arduino, could be part of a bot swarm!
Autonomous Collective Systems Lab let students program and run robots in a Rover obstacle avoidance challenge
Hands-on session on planets and what ‘designing’ a new planet might involve.
StarLab, the inflatable planetarium was here for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.
My third year of collaborating with the Orbital ATK team
Arizona State University’s teams
StarLab team from ASU
Getting back after Fall break with a big event this Wednesday, SPACE DAY. It’s my 5th year of bringing space science to our students from Kindergarten to 6th grade. Fascinating how things fall into place, thanks to the amazing support I get from the scientific community around us.
I am delighted to have Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace, conduct sessions for us, with many other groups. Today was supposed to be the launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying cargo up to the International Space Station. The launch has been postponed for tomorrow, and should dock at the space station on SPACE Day – Wed Oct 19th!
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Jim Rice, a NASA astrogeologist.
Sessions will cover these topics:
In 2012, when I put together Mars Day at our school, I could tell there was a huge appetite for all things space-related. After all, the Mars rover ‘Curiosity’ had landed on the red planet a few months before.
This year, our 5th year, we are broadening our lens, so to speak. We are calling it SPACE DAY. It is on Oct. 19th at Salt River Elementary.
I am so fortunate to have so many groups supporting me. From a NASA scientist, to Orbital ATK (formerly Orbital Science), and several groups from the School of Earth and Space at Arizona State University. Also a team who keeps bringing back StarLab, the inflatable planetarium. But wait, there’s more – a surprise guest from the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), the NASA group prepping for Mars.
There are several break-out sessions, some that will happen concurrently. We may even have a few real rocket launches outside! This year two of my colleagues will conduct hands-on sessions that add art and design to the mix. My goal has always been to add more of the ‘A’ to the S.T.E.A.M programs.
Almost every week it’s hard to escape news of audacious new programs pertaining to vehicular designs, space colonies, cosmonauts, or discoveries about comets, asteroids, and planets –the ones we know, and those that are still to be named.
One day of the year just scratches the surface, don’t you think?