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  • Space Explorers Helps Students Launch Rockets

    Rockets for Schools
    Assembling the Rocket (Drilling air passage ways)
    For the second year in a row, ninth and tenth grade students at Green Bay Southwest High School built and launched a rocket off of the pier of Lake Michigan as part of the annual Rockets for Schools event at Spaceport Sheboygan in Sheboygan, Wis. In order to make possible the team's desired payload, Space Explorers, Inc. donated funds to purchase a camera to be placed onboard the rocket.

    The Southwest High School team, dubbed "Team B Cubed" because all members' names began with the letter "B," met regularly in the weeks leading up to the event to fabricate their rocket. As part of the assembly process, the students studied rocket components, used epoxy glue to hold the components together, drilled air passageways, brainstormed payload experiments, and painted the rocket. The team named the rocket "Rocket De-Skies" because it was disguised as a red crayon.

    Rockets for Schools
    Painting the Rocket
    After much deliberation, the students decided to conduct two experiments within their payload. First, they bought a GPS unit to record the barometric pressure and the height to which the rocket would climb, as well as perform satellite mapping. The other experiment measured the pressure during the rocket's flight. A balloon was placed inside a plastic egg so the students could determine at what point in flight the pressure would cause the plastic egg to pop open.

    The team needed a camera to determine the point in flight at which this would occur. They discovered, however, that an FCC license was required to operate the camera, so parent leader Sandy Mertens volunteered her time. She had two weeks to study 500 questions. When tested on 35 of these, Mertens correctly answered more than the 26 necessary to pass, earning her FCC license and allowing the team to have a camera onboard their rocket.

    On the day of the launch, the judges selected the top teams based on the rocket's fit and finish and the team's presentation. Out of 36 teams, Team B Cubed earned sixth place. Their rocket reached an altitude of 2,680 feet, and the plastic egg opened approximately one-quarter of an inch. Their rocket had the distinct honor of being launched alongside Governor Jim Doyle's and Senator Joe Leibham's rockets.

    Rockets for Schools
    Presentation Display

    Mertens said it was exciting to see the students put so much time and effort into the project and then be able to watch the rocket launch. "It was a success and something they can be proud of," Mertens said.

    Space Explorers was an original founder of the Rockets for Schools event and continues to make donations to support the program. Each year, more than 300 students from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan have participated in successful launches at Spaceport Sheboygan.

    To learn more about Rockets for Schools, please visit www.rockets4schools.org

    Rockets for Schools
    Preparing to Launch

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