New Space and Tech

Student RockSat Prepares For Launch

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
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University students and professors from across the country and Puerto Rico will converge on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this month to learn how to build small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets. This is part of a week-long workshop, known as RockOn!, that begins June 19.

The 80 workshop participants will build standardized experiments that will fly on a NASA Terrier-Orion suborbital sounding rocket set to launch between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT on June 24. The 35-foot-tall rocket is expected to fly to an altitude of 75 miles. After launch and payload recovery, the participants will conduct preliminary data analysis and discuss their results.

In addition to the 7 workshop-built experiments, 11 custom-built, self-contained experiments also will fly on the rocket inside a payload canister known as RockSat. The latter experiments were developed at ten universities that previously had participated in a RockOn! workshop.
The workshop is funded by NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. This will be the third year for the workshop.

The Space Grant national network includes more than 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, science centers, and state and local agencies. The goal is to support and enhance science and engineering education, and research and public outreach efforts for NASA’s aeronautics and space projects. These affiliates belong to one of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

For more information on RockOn! and RockSat, visit:

For more information about NASA’s education programs visit:

NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program Office is providing the rocket for the workshop. For more information about the office, visit:

RockSat 2010 Payload Canister User’s Guide RockSat 2010 Payload Canister User’s Guide

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.