Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1761) Keith Koehler Wallops Flight Facility, VA (Phone: 757

/ 824-1579) RELEASE: 01-106

May 31, 2001

FOR STUDENTS INTERESTED IN SCIENCE, THE SKY IS NO LONGER THE LIMIT High school students from across the country will soon see their year of hard work pay off by preparing their experiments for launch into space. Eight student teams and their teacher advisors will journey to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA, after having their experiments chosen for space flight through the NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP) flight opportunities competition. NSIP is a national program that links students directly with NASA's diverse missions of research, exploration and discovery. Students have the opportunity to learn science by doing science. "The purpose of the competition is to provide high school students an opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world environment," said Lynn Marra, NSIP Officer at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "We hope that the students involved in the flights see it as a positive experience and pursue careers in science and engineering." Shortly after sunrise on June 6, the students will see their experiments fly aboard a single-stage NASA Orion sounding rocket to an altitude of more than 28 miles. The experiments will descend by parachute to a water impact in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Wallops Island, where they will be recovered and returned to the students that day for analysis. Four of the student teams will converge on Wallops during the first week of June to participate in the final activities to

prepare their experiments for the sounding rocket flight. The experiments will investigate materials for future space flight vehicles, study the efficiency of electric motors during rocket flight, measure atmospheric constituents and gather data on the sounding rocket flight environment for a musical composition. "Sounding rockets are an excellent education tool," said Bobby Flowers, chief of the Sounding Rockets Program Office at Wallops. "Under NSIP, high school students are able to design and build at low cost an experiment for sounding rocket flight in one school year. In addition, after the launch they get almost immediate feedback on the success of their experiment. It's very gratifying to see the excitement of these students as they see their hard work pay off." During the second week of June the other four teams will be at Wallops to integrate their experiments in a Space Experiment Module (SEM) for flight on a future Space Shuttle mission. The students will work with Wallops personnel in the Space Shuttle Small Payloads Office to test their experiments before the projects are integrated with the carrier for flight. Students will also have an opportunity to tour the Wallops facility, participate in activities on microgravity and rocketry, and give presentations on their experiments to NASA managers, engineers and scientists. Various activities during the two weeks, including the launch of the sounding rocket, will be webcast. These activities will be posted by June 1 at the following web site: http://www.wff.nasa.gov/pages/video_schedule.html#launch For additional information on the NSIP program, visit: http://www.nsip.net/ The NSIP flight opportunities is supported through the NASA Headquarter's Offices of Human Resources and Education, Space Flight and Space Science. -end-