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West Side Education News & Notes

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

STVM students participate in NASA rocket program

The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School NASA team is shown above.
Photo courtesy of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School
WEST AKRON — NASA has accepted a proposal from 12 St. Vincent-St. Mary High School (STVM) students to design and construct a rocket-deployed airship that will serve as a modular sensor platform.

The students are part of NASA’s Student Launch Project (SLP) for university and high school students. These students are challenged to build and launch a reusable rocket to fly 1 mile above ground level while carrying a scientific or engineering payload. According to school officials, most of the teams in NASA’s SLP are at the university level, but STVM is one of 20 high school teams from across the country selected to compete.

STVM NASA team members include: Jack Giles, of Copley; Lucia Vinzani, of Cuyahoga Falls; Stephen Hall, of Fairlawn; Stefan Subich, of West Akron; Alex Morley and Ryan Schweter, of Medina; Katie Engels, Hannah Norris and Logan Wilkinson, of Green; Gerry Puhalla, of Clinton; and Julianne Stamer and Steven Stamer, Silver Lake.

The project lasts for the entire academic year. The team is required to: submit a series of engineering reports and reviews; develop a website, timeline and budget; and provide educational outreach within the local community.

The team will have a series of design reviews in line with NASA’s technical review process. This includes a preliminary design review, a critical design review, flight readiness plans and a post-launch assessment.

The project will culminate with the team traveling to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in mid-April 2013, along with the other teams selected to compete. NASA will provide the funding for the rocket and its payload, but the students must raise funds to travel to Huntsville for the five-day trip.

According to school officials, National Machine’s sponsorship of the Team America Rocketry Challenge program at STVM for the past 10 years has made the SLP a reality. The Timken Co. and The University of Akron’s School of Engineering both provide technical support and engineering expertise to assist the team in the design and testing process.

In addition, part of the SLP mission is to promote interest in science and engineering through rocketry in the community. This not only includes securing financial support from local companies, but also includes educational engagement of outside student groups.

On Oct. 12, members of the team traveled to Cleveland’s I-X Center and built 160 rockets for visiting youngsters.

“We don’t want to just shoot some rockets off; we want to really teach other students about what it takes to design, build and launch rockets and get them as excited as we are about rocket science and other STEM fields,” said Katie Engels, STVM Rocket Team captain.

For information about sponsorship or educational outreach opportunities, contact Robert Engels at rengels@stvm.com.


Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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