Learning Rocket Science At NASA - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Learning Rocket Science At NASA

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WALLOPS IS., -Del. - It's not how you would think most college students would spend the first part of summer break, but like Maurice Price, an electrical engineering student at Del Tech says "it's not every day you get the opportunity to do something with NASA."

"You can design your own experiment, you don't have to have a lot of experience, so I thought 'oh!  I want to be involved in something like that!'," says Emily Logan, a recent graduate of the University of Colorado who's been coming to NASA's "Rock On!" for five years.

From June 15-20th, fifty college students and a few teachers from across the country have set up camp at NASA's Wallops Island Facility to take advantage of an opportunity that doesn't come around too often.

"Basically they're building a scientific experiment that will fly on the rocket," according to Chris Koehler, Director of the Colorado Space Grant, and an instructor for the "RockOn!" workshop.

In the 3 day crash course, the students build small experiments that will be launched on a sounding rocket Thursday morning.

The real purpose of the workshop is to reach through doing," says Koehler, "a lot of programs at universities and community colleges all over the country, 16/46:55 it's all based on theory and there's not very many chances students get to apply what they're actually learning to a real project."

While some students in the program have a pretty clear idea of what they want to be, like Emily, who just accepted a job with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, rocket science boot camp gives others, like Maurice, the chance to explore the great unknown.

Maurice says "I'm not really sure right now, but you know, that's why I'm here," and at NASA, the sky's the limit.

The launch is scheduled for Thursday morning between 5:30 and 10:30 a.m.  There will also be 20 high school teachers from across the area there to learn about rocketry and how the science from suborbital sounding rockets helps to reinforce science programs in the classroom.

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