Recently in the Rocket Category


Less than a century ago, astronomers relied entirely on ground-based observations to further scientific study.

NASA selected 55 student teams from across the nation to participate in the 2015-2016 NASA Student Launch challenge, to be held April 13-17 near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

2015 Student Rocket Launch Highlights

On July 18, 2015, high-power sport rockets carried payloads thousands of feet above the plains of Pueblo, Colorado, at the United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Student Rocket Launch. The event marked the culmination of an experience designed to simulate a real-life launch campaign and inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The RCS Engineers Rocketry Team from Russellville, Ala., beat out 100 competitors to claim first place at the National Finals of the 2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC).

The RockOn Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket containing multiple student-built experiments launched successfully at 7:21 a.m. EDT on June 26, 2014 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The payload was recovered and has been returned to Wallops.

This year's Rocket Experiments for University Students (REXUS) campaign has been completed. Eight student experiments reached the stratosphere on two rockets. Now the hard work of analysing the results begins.

A student-built rocket lifts off the brilliant white hardpan of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Tooele County, Utah, May 17, during the "launchfest" that concluded the 2013-14 NASA Student Launch rocketry competition.

This video was released today by SpaceX. The test took place on Monday, October 7th, where the SpaceX Grasshopper completed its highest leap to date, rising to 744m altitude. The view above is taken from a single camera hexacopter, getting closer to the stage than in any previous flight.

High-power sport rockets carried payloads thousands of feet above the plains of Pueblo, Colo., Saturday at the United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Student Rocket Launch.

What can survive blazing temperatures of almost 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit without melting? What did not break apart at extreme pressures? What is made by a new process that forms a complex part in just one piece? What takes less than three weeks to go from manufacturing to testing? What can reduce the costs of expensive rocket parts by 60 percent or more?

Three students from the Georgetown, Texas, 4-H rocketry club took home gold medals after placing first in the sixth annual International Rocketry Challenge at Le Bourget Airport in Paris. The U.S. team, sponsored by Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), reclaimed the title from the French team, which placed second. The U.K. team finished third. Each team was congratulated by the President of France, Francois Hollande.

Three students from the Georgetown, Texas, 4-H rocketry club took home gold medals after placing first in the sixth annual International Rocketry Challenge at Le Bourget Airport in Paris.

Morpheus Tether Test 24

This is the 24th tether test of the Morpheus Vehicle. This test was performed with the "Bravo" version of the vehicle and tested some of the new backup systems. There are two firings in this test, the first firing was soft aborted. This was caused by an imbalance in the fuel load which caused the vehicle to exceed it's tight safety zone. The 2nd firing was a complete success.

Eleven teams from across the country and around the globe are preparing to compete for $1.5 million during NASA's 2013 Sample Return Robot Challenge, June 5-7 at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass.

Kerry Ellis: Future human space exploration will mean getting beyond low-Earth orbit--and returning safely. Several projects across NASA are working on the challenges that goal presents, among them propulsion alternatives and guidance, navigation, and control. Three years ago, Project Morpheus and the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology project, or ALHAT, began collaborating on advances in these areas.

Homer Hickam, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie October Sky, has joined the ranks of scientists and engineers around the globe in support of Kiera Wilmot - the 16-year-old Florida student who found herself in hot water after her science experiment went awry.

Rockets on the Hill

"Rockets on the Hill" event will bring together nation's some of the nation's most talented student engineers with policymakers On Friday, May 10 at 9:30a.m., the top 100 national finalists in the Team America Rocketry Challenge will join together with leaders from the defense, aerospace and education community to model their latest designs and discuss the future of aerospace with key policymakers.

NASA Student Launch Projects Challenge

It was rockets ready, set, soar April 21 at the 2012-13 NASA Student Launch Projects challenge. More than 600 students, representing 56 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 26 states, launched rockets of their own design -- complete with working science or engineering payloads -- at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala. The students vied to see whose rocket could come closest to the 1-mile altitude goal and safely return its onboard science or engineering payload to Earth. Fifty-four teams took part, though six faced mechanical or technical issues and did not launch. Ten preliminary awards were presented. The grand prize -- $5,000 from ATK Aerospace Group of Magna, Utah -- will be awarded May 17 after final post-flight analysis and review are complete. This is the sixth year ATK has sponsored Student Launch Projects.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is just weeks away from our first actively guided rocket flight. The Sapphire rocket has a liftoff mass of 200 kg, and stands six meters tall. Its nitrous oxide / polyurethane HATV type hybrid, controlled by servo operated copper jet vanes in the rocket jet. These powerful motors have a flawless record. The instrumentation and payload is now passing parachute separation tests - and the two test performed confirmed our expectations for the parachute system. The purpose of Copenhagen Suborbitals is to launch a human into space. You can god to space with a passive stable finn only rocket - but the initial acceleration needed to stay on course is too high for humans to endure. Therefore CS must master active guidance. The fist and last purpose of the Sapphire mission is to test active guidance.

Team America Rocketry Challenge

"Hundreds of students from across the country will meet May 11 at Great Meadow in The Plains, VA to decide the winner of the world's largest student rocket contest. The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) has been captivating students nationwide for the past decade, encouraging them to advance their education and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a year of record turnout, attracting 725 teams, only the top 100 will proceed to compete in TARC's final fly-off. The top 100 teams represent 29 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and a diverse cross-section of American youth. Teams include students from urban and rural America, all-girls teams, a record number of 4-H teams and a team comprised entirely of Civil Air Patrol volunteers." More

"The latest in cutting-edge manufacturing is already making a significant impact in the future of space exploration. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif., the prime contractor for the J-2X engine, recently used an advanced 3-D printing process called Selective Laser Melting, or SLM, to create an exhaust port cover for the engine. SLM uses lasers to fuse metal dust into a specific pattern to build the cover, which is essentially a maintenance hatch for the engine's turbo pumps." More

San Francisco - (March 8, 2013) - Today DIYROCKETS and Sunglass are announcing a partnership to launch the world's first open source competition to create 3D printed rocket engines through collaborative design.

The competition opens for registration at South By Southwest (SXSW) on March 9, and challenges makers, designers and space entrepreneurs to create open source rocket engines that will serve the growing market for small payload delivery into low earth orbit and ultimately, disrupt the space transportation industry.

Although several companies have recently made strides in showcasing the power of the private sector in space exploration, DIYROCKETS is taking this a step further by creating the first of many competitions that encourages the fusion of creativity, technology and collaboration by people across the globe. Utilizing Sunglass's cloud-based platform to visualize, collaborate, manage versions and exchange feedback on each design with team members and the public from anywhere on the globe, the contest aims to dramatically drive down design costs, while creating innovative technology for all types of space hardware and parts, ranging from space propulsion to space medical sensors. Teams will have the freedom to work in a 3D design environment of their choice such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Rhino or CATIA, while syncing their project to the Sunglass cloud.

"University faculty and students interested in learning how to build scientific experiments for spaceflight are invited to join RockOn 2013 from June 15-20 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. RockOn 2013 is an annual workshop held in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. Registration is open through May. "Now in its sixth year, this program provides the basics on building, testing and flying a science payload on a suborbital rocket," said Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the sounding rocket program office at Wallops. "This is an exciting first step for participants to gain hands-on experience in building more complex space experiments. The program provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a future aerospace career." During the program, participants will work together to build experiment payloads to fly on a NASA sounding rocket predicted to reach an altitude of 73 miles. The flight will take place June 20, the last day of the workshop, weather permitting." More

"Imagine a young engineer examining an artifact from the Apollo era that helped send people on humankind's first venture to another world. The engineer has seen diagrams of the rocket engine. She has even viewed old videos of the immense tower-like Saturn V rocket launching to the moon. Like any curious explorer, she wants to see how it works for herself. She wonders if this old engine still has the "juice." Like a car mechanic who investigates an engine of a beloved antique automobile, she takes apart the engine piece by piece and refurbishes it. This is exactly what a small team of young NASA engineers did. The engineers, who have been trained in fields from rocket propulsion to materials science, took apart and refurbished parts from Saturn V F-1 engines--the most powerful American rocket engines ever built. Why resurrect an Apollo-era rocket engine? The answer is simple: to mine the secrets of the F-1 -- an engine that last flew before these engineers were born -- and use it as inspiration for creating new advanced, affordable propulsion systems." More

NASA Rocketry Challenge 2013

"Organizers of the NASA Student Launch Projects have announced the 57 student teams whose inventive creations will soar skyward in April during the space agency's 2012-13 rocketry challenge. Representing schools in 26 states around the country, participating teams each will design and build a large, high-powered rocket, complete with a working science or engineering payload and capable of flying to the target altitude of 1 mile. NASA created the rocketry challenge to encourage young people to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. "Every year, the NASA Student Launch Projects build on our students' classroom studies in an energizing, exciting way," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., which organizes the event. "It's great fun, but it also reflects the real-world complexity of planning missions, building flight hardware and completing tough pre-flight checks and reviews. It tests their problem-solving skills and gives them practical, hands-on experience. We hope the experience is so unforgettable it leads many of them to become the nation's next generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers." More

"NASA successfully launched four university experiments this morning on a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket from the agency's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Launched at 7:16:30 a.m. EDT, the rocket lofted the experiments to an altitude of 95.4 miles. The experiments have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean and they will be delivered to the university teams this afternoon at Wallops. The launch was part of the RockSat-X educational project, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. The participating schools for this year's RockSat-X launch are from Baylor University in Waco, Texas; University of Colorado at Boulder; the University of Puerto Rico; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg." More.

8th Annual CanSat Competition

"The Naval Research Laboratory supported the 8th Annual CanSat competition where 26 college rocket teams came together from all over the world to compete. This year's "mission" was to launch an autonomous CanSat (a satellite in a can) with a deployable lander containing one large raw hen egg that cannot be damaged on landing. The "CanSat " refers to the complete system-the carrier and the lander. The event was held on June 8-10, 2012, in Abilene and Burkett, Texas.

The CanSat is deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 610 meters (2001 feet). Once released from the rocket, the CanSat descends between 10 and 20 meters per second using any type of descent control system or device. At an altitude of 200 meters, the CanSat reduces the descent rate to within 4 and 6 meters per second. At 91 meters altitude, the CanSat carrier releases the lander that contains one large raw hen's egg. The lander hopefully lands without damaging the egg. The lander cannot free fall. It must contain a descent control system or device to reduce the descent rate to less than 5 meters per second. The carrier telemetry data may be stored on-board for post processing in the event of a communications failure. Teams must build their own ground station. Telemetry from the carrier is displayed, in real-time, on a team-developed ground station." More.

"NASA/ARC Peregrine Project has a requirement for Paraffin-based fuel grains (14.5 inch nominal diameter) to be used in combustion tests at N249. Fuel additives are of great interest that can increase the specific impulse of the rocket motor to be useful in an actual hybrid rocket motor, many properties of the additive alone and in combination with the fuel must be investigated. A useful additive is one that is dense, chemically stable, improves the performance and/or structural characteristics of the fuel, and is nontoxic and relatively inexpensive when produced in large quantity." More.

"To accommodate NASA's interest in funding only licensed launches, the FAA will allow launches of sufficient size to voluntarily apply for an FAA license and, therefore, fall under the financial responsibility requirements of the CSLA. The changes do not apply to launches involving a Class 1 or Class 2 amateur rocket. Instead, they only apply to launch activities related to a Class 3 amateur rocket. The FAA will not solicit such applications, because solicitation would call into question whether the application was, in fact, voluntary. Also, this rule only permits voluntary applications for a license from entities that are not part of the U.S. Government. The CSLA does not apply to activities the U.S. Government conducts for the government, which means the FAA does not have the authority to consider even voluntary applications for a license from other Federal agencies." More

"University students will put their academic skills to the test when atmospheric and technology experiments they developed fly on a NASA suborbital sounding rocket. The launch will take place between 6:30 and 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Va. Four university experiments will be flown as part of an educational project called RockSat-X, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the University of Colorado at Boulder."

"NASA's University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers. Once selected, teams design their rockets and payloads throughout the academic year. USLI requires a NASA review of the teams' preliminary and critical designs. The project also requires flight and launch readiness reviews before the rockets and payloads are approved for launch. Teams complete a Post-Launch Assessment Review to include conclusions from their science or engineering experiment and the overall flight performance." More

Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5

Flight Opportunities for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status

"Dear Flight Opportunities community: We are pleased to announce the release of Announcement of Flight Opportunities #5 (AFO5) today. This new call brings back the opportunity to propose to the parabolic flight platform, in addition to our current sRLV and balloon providers. Proposal due date is September 21, with a tentative announcement of selections in November 2012."

NASA Rocket Carrying Student Experiments Launched From Wallops Flight Facility

"A NASA rocket carrying seventeen educational experiments was successfully launched at 6:40 a.m. today from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The experiments built by university instructors and students from across the country were developed through programs conducted with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. The programs are designed to provide participants an introduction in building small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets."

Rocket Week Launching at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility

"Students and educators from across the country will experience what it is like to be a rocket scientist during "Rocket Week," June 16-22, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. More than 100 participants will receive hands-on training in building payloads for spaceflight, learn the basics of rocketry and develop activities for the classroom through the fifth annual RockOn! workshop for university-level participants and the concurrent second annual Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) for high school teachers."

Crowdsourcing Yourself Into Space

The Crazy DIY Spaceflight Project That Just Might Work

"Keith Cowing, editor of NASAWatch.com, said Copenhagen Suborbitals has yet to convince anyone that they've built something safe to fly in. Spine-severing vibration, blackout-inducing acceleration and catastrophic hardware failures could each doom a would-be passenger. "But the fact that I'm not making fun of this and worrying about detailed technical aspects is fascinating. We don't giggle at it anymore," said Cowing, a former biologist who did payload integration for NASA and has completed suborbital scientist astronaut training. "In the past few years, it's no longer considered lunacy to try and build a rocket ship that you or someone could get into and take you to edge of space," he said. "I think we're watching something that may be bigger than we realize it is. Copenhagen Suborbitals is an extreme example."

Morpheus Tether Test #16

NASA Video: Morpheus Tether Test #16

"The Morpheus vertical test bed successfully executed a 16th tether test on June 11, 2012. This was the first flight after the team integrated ALHAT (Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology) into the vehicle."

Ocean Robots Embark on Final Stage of Pacific Crossing (PacX) Collecting Unprecedented Amounts of Ocean Data

"Liquid Robotics(R), an ocean data services provider and developer of the Wave Glider(R), the first wave-powered, autonomous marine robot, today launched the PacX Wave Gliders from the Big Island of Hawai'i on the final phase of a first-of-its-kind scientific expedition across the Pacific Ocean. Continuing their record-breaking journey across the high seas with approximately 5000 nautical miles until their final destinations of Australia and Japan, the Wave Gliders have collectively already traveled more than 13,000 nautical miles. This is more than 2x the distance from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan. During their voyage, the Wave Gliders are collecting and transmitting in near real-time, unprecedented amounts of ocean surface data on a scale never before continuously collected across the Pacific Ocean."

AIA's Annual Rocketry Challenge

Largest student rocket contest brings diversity and talent to U.S. STEM pipeline, AIA

"With the exception of a shared passion for science, math and engineering, the 100 teams that will compete in the tenth anniversary Team America Rocketry Challenge national finals this year show a stunning diversity of backgrounds and interests. The Aerospace Industries Association today unveiled this year's roster of rocket-building finalists, which includes more than 600 students from 29 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Representing a wide cross-section of American youth, TARC teams - including an all-girl team, 4-H club, a rock band and a hockey team - bring varying perspectives and experiences to the annual competition, which is known for sparking careers in science, math and engineering."

RockOn! 2012

NASA Seeking University Participants for Summer Rocket Workshop

"University faculty and students are invited to join a weeklong workshop June 16-21 to learn how to build and launch a scientific experiment to space. Registration is open through May 1. RockOn! 2012 will be held at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The annual workshop is held in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. "This workshop provides an opportunity for participants to learn how to build an experiment for space flight," said Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the sounding rocket program office at Wallops. "The hope is this experience will encourage them to participate in more ambitious payload programs, including someday building instruments for orbital spacecraft and beyond."

Armadillo Aerospace Launches Their Third "STIG-A" Rocket from Spaceport America

"Saturday's Armadillo launch successfully lifted off at approximately 11:15 a.m. (MDT), which was within the dedicated, five-hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 82-km (~50 miles). A failure of the ballute (balloon-parachute) recovery system meant that the GPS-steerable main parachute could not be deployed as intended; however, the vehicle was successfully recovered within the predicted operating area and the nose cone and ballute were separately recovered intact on the Spaceport property."

2012 Team America Rocketry Challenge

World's Largest Rocket Contest Helps Aspiring STEM Leaders Take Off

"Nearly 700 teams of middle and high school students across 48 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands are gearing up for the 2012 Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world's largest student rocket contest and a critical piece of the aerospace industry's workforce development pipeline. The 10th anniversary competition is the most challenging in the history of the event. This year, each team is tasked with designing and building a rocket carrying a two egg payload to 800 feet and back during a 43- to 47-second flight without cracking. A strict limit on liftoff weight forces students to focus on designing the payload bay while building a lighter, stronger rocket. The top 100 teams will advance to the National Finals May 12 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va."

Fifty-Seven Student Rocket Teams to Take NASA Launch Challenge

"More than 500 students from middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 29 states will show their rocketeering prowess in the 2011-12 NASA Student Launch Projects flight challenge. The teams will build and test large-scale rockets of their own design in April 2012. NASA created the twin Student Launch Projects to spark students' imaginations, challenge their problem-solving skills and give them real-world experience. The project aims to complement the science, mathematics and engineering lessons they study in the classroom."

Armadillo Aerospace Launches Successfully from Spaceport America

"New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced today a successful launch over the weekend of an advanced sounding rocket designed and built by Armadillo Aerospace. The launch took place from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex on Sun., Dec. 4. The test flight was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies."

NASA Mighty Eagle Lander Test Postponed

NASA Postpones Nov. 4 Robotic Lander Test

"NASA has postponed Friday's 10:30 a.m. CDT 100-foot robotic lander altitude flight test to allow engineers more time to assess data from a recent test regarding an issue with the vehicle's propellant usage. The test now is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Nov. 9, from the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. On Thursday, managers from the Robotic Lander Development Project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., decided that more time is needed to analyze the test data to confirm the vehicle's propellant rate usage."

Upcoming NASA "Mighty Eagle" Test Flight

NASA Robotic Lander Test Flight Nov. 4

"NASA will conduct a 100-foot robotic lander altitude test flight Friday, Nov. 4, to mature the technology needed to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of achieving scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon, asteroids or other airless bodies."

Team America Rocketry Challenge


Team America Rocketry Challenge Registration Opens

"Registration for the world's largest student rocket competition is open now through November 30. The Team America Rocketry Challenge will accept up to 1,000 student teams in grades 7-12 from any U.S. school, home school or non-profit youth organization. The 2012 contest rules and registration information are available at www.rocketcontest.org."

On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible.

Photos

Rocketry Winners Come to Washington, John Easum via OSTP

"Last week Michael Gerritsen, Colt McNally, Landon Fisher, and I visited Washington, DC as ambassadors for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC).  We spoke on Capitol Hill on September 14th and met with leaders in the Obama Administration, including his science and technology advisor Dr. John Holdren, Administrator of NASA Charlie Bolden, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Our team of four competed in the Team America Rocketry Challenge, which is a nation-wide contest where students in 7th through 12th grades design, build, and fly a rocket to reach specific parameters while competing for over $60,000 in scholarships and prizes."

Video: Rocket Boys of the NIH

During the season of gift-giving, many youngsters may have had toy rocket ships on their wish-lists. In this eye-to-eye interview, we learn how one boy didnt send a letter to the North Pole to get a rocket, rather to the NIH to fund a rocket. We talked to Terence Boylan, who with his friend Bruce Cook, asked for an NIH grant back in April of 1957. Since Terences father was a physician and medical researcher at the University of Buffalo, the nine-year-old thought NIH was the place to go for money. Dr. Ernest Allen received Terences letter, and helped reward the youngsters request with ten dollars.

Launch into the new school year with a new Do-It-Yourself Podcast topic module: Rocket Science. NASA Launch Vehicle Systems Analyst (rocket scientist) Tristan Curry provides expert sound bites for students to build podcast episodes about the laws of physics that govern building and launching rockets. Education specialist Fred Kepner explains the stability of a rocket and how to achieve it.

Whether you're building a film canister rocket or a launch vehicle to travel beyond Earth, the science behind rockets is the same. The topic module includes 33 video clips with Curry, Kepner, historical footage of rockets and shuttle launches, and animations. Sixteen audio clips also are included in the module. Students may download these NASA multimedia materials and integrate them into their own recordings and narration to create a podcast.

Other DIY Podcast topic modules are:

-- Fitness.
-- Lab Safety.
-- Newton's Laws.
-- Robots.
-- Solar Arrays.
-- Spacesuits.
-- Sports Demo.

Students can build their own multimedia projects, while teachers meet national education standards. A companion blog offers tips and suggestions for incorporating the DIY Podcast into the classroom. To learn more and to start building podcasts, visit http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/diypodcast/index.html.

Chirag Parikh & Phil Larson: Earlier this month, we were honored to be invited to the Team America Rocketry Challenge held about 50 miles outside Washington, DC. There, hundreds of middle- and high-school students were participating in a model rocketry competition sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association.

As two guys with aerospace in our blood, we know firsthand the excitement and adrenaline rush of launching model rockets. For many youngsters--us among them--model rocketry is a rite of passage that springboards early dreamers to become the engineers and aerospace professionals of tomorrow. They will be the ones designing, building, and operating the next-generation rockets that launch astronauts into space, probes into the farthest reaches of our solar system, and Earth-orbiting satellites that touch every facet of our daily lives.

Competitions like the one we attended this month help embed in students the qualities necessary to succeed, such as creative thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. Each three- to 10-person team was challenged to design and build a rocket to climb exactly 750 feet during a 40- to 45-second flight. The payload, a raw egg, had to return to the ground by parachute undamaged.

Full post at OSTP with photos

NASA is Making Hot, Way Cool

Close-up of pump being tested on a Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket mission from the Wallops Flight Facility in June. Credit: NASA Larger image

The more advanced the electronics, the more power they use. The more power they use, the hotter they get. The hotter they get, the more likely they'll overheat. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what typically happens next: The electronics fry.

Click to enlarge

A new microsatellite designed to give scientists less expensive access to space will be demonstrated during a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket flight between 7 and 10 a.m., June 9, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The backup launch day is June 10.

A short documentary about the PhoneSat suborbital test launch in the Black Rock desert, this video covers both launches of the Nexus One cell phone. Watch to find out whether they survived their 5-second, 18G trips miles into the atmosphere! More videos.

A combined view of ground video, on-rocket video, and accelerometer data from the Nexus One rocket launch. More videos here.

A team from Rockwall-Heath High School in Heath, Tex., took first place at the ninth annual Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) finals Saturday afternoon, besting 99 teams from across the country to earn the title of national champion. Rockwall-Heath joined more than 600 participating teams in September 2010 on a journey that included rocketry design, simulated flights and test launches. Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry, the contest encourages students to prepare for careers in the aerospace industry, which is working to boost the pipeline of students with science, technology, engineering and math skills. More

NASA will launch a Virginia Tech University experiment to measure nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere this winter from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The Polar Night Nitric Oxide experiment will be launched on a suborbital flight aboard a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket. The launch is scheduled for no earlier than January 30. Scott Bailey, assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, is leading the experiment called "Polar NOx." The experiment is designed to measure the intensity of nitric oxide in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere in the polar region.

Less than three years after obtaining college degrees, a group of early-career employees at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., can now add "rocket launch" to their resumes. Recent graduates who work for JPL launched a sounding rocket 120 kilometers (75 miles) above Earth's surface on Monday, Dec. 6. The rocket flew from the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, with four cameras on board. The cameras recorded real-time ground imagery throughout the flight, both after launch as the rocket climbed beyond the atmosphere, and during its descent back to White Sands. Those data will be compared with existing maps to develop terrain-modeling algorithms. This project will improve precision landing for future missions to Mars and other locations.

Danish inventors produce first amateur rocket designed to send humans into space (and one of them is going to test it out himself), Daily Mail

"It might not look much. In fact, it looks practically suicidal. But two Danish inventors hope to launch the world's first amateur-built rocket for human space travel. The homemade rocket is the brainchild of Danish firm Copenhagen Suborbitals, headed by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen."

Copenhagen Suborbitals

"Welcome to Copenhagen Suborbitals Our mission is very simple. We are working towards launching a human being into space. This is a non-profit suborbital space endeavor lead by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, based entirely on sponsors and volunteers."

Cheaper, Better Satellites Made From Cellphones and Toys, Wired

"Instead of investing in their own computer research and development, engineers at the NASA Ames Research Center are looking to cellphones and off-the-shelf toys to power the future of low-cost satellite technology. The smartphone in your pocket has about 120 times more computing power than the average satellite, which has the equivalent of a 1984-era computer inside. "You can go to Walmart and buy toys that work better than satellites did 20 years ago," said NASA physicist Chris Boshuizen. "And your cellphone is really a $500 robot in your pocket that can't get around. A lot of the real innovation now happens in entertainment and cellphone technology, and NASA should be going forward with their stuff."

Video from a Google NexusOne smartphone with specially programmed Android apps, installed aboard James Dougherty's Intimidator-5 on a CTI N4100 load. Launch from Black Rock Playa on 24-July-2010 thanks to Maverick Civilian Space Foundation.