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NASA-Bound Students Ready to Go at Mont Alto

6/17/2009 —

Penn State Mont Alto is sending off five students and their professor to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  Dr. Siegfried Herzog (“Zig”), assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, and his students are headed to the final stage in the RockSat program that will culminate in their experiment being launched into the upper atmosphere inside a NASA-modified Terrier-Orion rocket on June 26th (tentative date). 

The students and their advisor have been working together for nearly two years to provide the canister that will house their own experiment as well as experiments from teams at Boston University and Virginia Tech.  Mont Alto’s contingent will leave for Wallops Island on June 18 after which NASA will inspect and test the canister and their experiment to determine if they are probable to survive the flight. The rocket is a two-stage rocket, 30 feet high and about a foot in diameter.  

The Mont Alto students’ experiment involves testing material stresses on a circular aluminum plate similar to the those commonly used in rockets to carry experiments, batteries and other items.  Their data will be recorded on a SD Card.  After the rocket’s launch, it will return to earth about 50 miles off shore where it will be pulled by NASA recovery ships.  The students will be returned their canister and should it have survived flight, they will evaluate and analyze the data collected.

“This experience will determine the rest of their lives,” commented Zig about the opportunity this project has afforded his students.  “It has been a fantastic learning experience—for me too.” 

Penn State Mont Alto’s Student Team are:
Kylie Flickinger (Gettysburg)
Harshad Kappor (Shippensburg)
Adam Kuhlman (Chambersburg)
Robert Stottlemyer (Paradise, PA)
Tim Svirbly (Gardners, PA)

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