New Mexico Students Fly Experiments into Space

LAS CRUCES, NM (NMSGC PR) — The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium today successfully completed its fifth Student Launch Program launch event from Spaceport America near Las Cruces, N.M. More than 60 NASA Summer of Innovation students and teachers watched as four primary experiments were propelled into space aboard a SpaceLoft-5 rocket, provided by UP Aerospace. Additional university experiments and other items were also on the rocket, which reached an altitude of approximately 74 miles and experienced 17 Gs of force at a speed of Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound at approximately 3,800 mph).

This launch was the first suborbital space flight for student experiments sponsored by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, which facilitates low-cost access to suborbital environments for a broad range of innovators as a means of advancing space technology development and supporting the evolving entrepreneurial commercial space industry.

“Since the inaugural launch in 2009, we have strived to provide an exceptional learning experience for the students of New Mexico through our collaborative, hands-on program,” said Dr. Patricia Hynes, director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium. “The Student Launch Program is truly one-of-kind, as this is the only educational initiative in the country that gives students access to a commercial launch complex on a consistent basis. Including projects from today’s successful flight, we have now sent a total of 76 student experiments to space through this program.”

The Student Launch Program was created to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs for students in New Mexico. The launch, along with the yearlong education program in which students create and design the experiments, is sponsored by NASA through its Summer of Innovation Program.

Emerson Schoeppner, 13, was amazed at how an experiment he worked on could actually fly into space. “This isn’t something you can do every day, especially for young people like us,” Schoeppner said. “That feeling of seeing something you built fly up into space is incredible. It is just a whole new level of learning.”

This year, five New Mexico public schools and one university participated in the launch, including:

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About the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium

The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is a member of the congressionally funded National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program that is administered by NASA and sponsored by New Mexico State University. The program promotes and inspires lifelong learning in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as it pertains to space-related activities. The consortium supports a wide range of projects and scholarship opportunities, including the Student Launch Program.