School students from across North American saw their dreams of having their science projects tested in space explode into the night as the payload of a cargo spacecraft exploded Tuesday evening over a launchpad at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Tuesday’s mishap over NASA Wallops Flight Facility was the first catastrophic launch in NASA’s commercial spaceflight effort. No injuries were reported following the explosion.
Lost in the explosion was a 5,000 pound payload of supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) which included science experiments from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
For the nearly 7,000 students and their teachers that participated in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 6 to the International Space Station, with the relief in knowing no one was injured in the explosion, comes the sadness that thousands of hours of work was lost as well.
There were a total of 1,487 proposals submitted from student teams across the 18 communities for Mission 6 to ISS that were lauched from the Virginia space port on Tuesday.
Projects came from as far away as Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. The students at McGowan Park Elementary in the Kamloops Thompson School District created an experiment on Creating Crystals in Space.
Eight graders from St. Monica Catholic School in Kalamazoo, Michigan hoped to discover “Microgravity’s Effects on Dry Lake Fairy Shrimp.”
Urban Promise Academy, Oakland Unified School District, California, hoped their experiment would answer questions on whether red worms will compost food waste into soil in microgravity.
Many schools from nearby New Jersey also had projects on board. A recent article from pressofAtlanticCity.com tells the story of “11 long months since six Ocean City High School students started their science project – Mission 6.” While the students won’t see the immediate feedback of having their experiments on ISS, they learned many valuable lessons on how to conduct a science project properly.
For a complete list of all the experiments of the future scientists of North America, check out the website Selected Experiments on SSEP Mission 6 to ISS.
According to the SSEP website, The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program was launched in June 2010. The experiment design competition for missions to the Internal Space Station Station is one of many programs.
Hopefully these young future scientists of America will continue on with their dreams and see their experiments added to a future mission.
Delmarva’s Space Flight Center
With NASA’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in the post shuttle space program, the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore has been the sight of many unmanned rocket launches over the past few years.
The Wallops Educator Resource Center (ERC) provides a great learning center for groups and makes for a great field trip destination. Educators and group leaders have the opportunity to to access NASA instructional products at the center.
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility is located near Chincoteague Island, Virginia, some 140 miles south of Wilmington, Delaware, on the Delmarva Peninsula. The facility was established in 1945 by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as a center for aeronautic research.