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Students Prepare for NASA Rocket Fair

By Caleb Henry | April 8, 2015
      NASA Marshall Rocket

      University students prepare their rocket for launch at NASA’s 2012-2013 Student Launch challenge.
      Photo: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

      [Via Satellite 04-08-2015] NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Academic Affairs Office in in Huntsville, Ala. is hosting the 15th annual NASA Student Launch event on April 10 and April 11. In this event, middle school, high school and college and university students from more than 30 academic institutions will participate in student-built rocket competitions.

      The challenges are set according to grade level. For middle school and high school level teams, rockets must reach an altitude of one mile, then deploy onboard science experiments before landing safely with recovery parachutes.

      College and university teams choose between the Mini- or Maxi- Mars Ascent Vehicle (Mini-MAV or Maxi-MAV) contests. Mini-MAV teams are challenged to autonomously load a payload using a robotic system, launch to roughly 800 kilometers, and then eject the payload while descending. The Maxi-MAV competitors have more difficult autonomy requirements and are vying for a $50,000 prize.

      The day before the launch event, students participate in a rocket fair, where NASA and student launch sponsor Orbital ATK will provide feedback on technical presentations. This is the first year NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program for citizen inventors has partnered with the event. Through the challenge, students share research results with NASA, which could be used to design and develop future projects for the space agency.