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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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High school teachers and students gather at NMSU for rocket launch summer program

High school teachers and students will gain hands-on experience with rocket launch technology in a week-long program at New Mexico State University July 23-28.

The summer institute, titled "Launch Technology," will host 19 two-person teams from 12 high schools in New Mexico and Texas. The summer institute is sponsored by the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NMSGC), a program primarily funded by NASA.

The teams will build high-powered model rockets with on- board computers that will capture information when the rockets are launched. The on-board computers will measure air pressure and altitude, roll rate of the rockets and three-dimensional acceleration. Upon recovery of the rockets, teams will download the data for analysis.

"It is important for students and teachers to understand some of the technical issues engineers and scientists encounter when they try to launch payloads into low earth orbit," NMSGC Director Patricia Hynes said.

Hynes said the program will acquaint high school teachers and students with launch technology issues related to the space launch industry emerging in New Mexico. The teams will launch the rockets from the NMSU College Ranch on Wednesday, July 26.

"When the spaceport is built in southern New Mexico, we intend for our students and teachers to have an understanding of the economic and technical benefits to New Mexicans," Hynes said.

Participating high schools are Onate High School of Las Cruces, Albuquerque High School, Moriarity High School, Espanola High School, Farmington High School, Piedra Vista High School of Farmington, Grants High School, St. Michael's High School of Santa Fe, Tatum High School, Thoreau High School, Tularosa High School and Socorro High School of El Paso, Texas.

Other Launch Technology Institute sponsors include the NMSU College of Engineering Boeing, Exxon and NASA. For more information contact Judy McShannon or Maria Cortez at (505) 646- 6414.

Chris Minnick
July 21, 2000