Two COC student-led projects selected for NASA flights

Two College of the Canyons student-led science projects have been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and will launch in 2022.

According to Teresa Ciardi, professor of Astronomy and Physical Science at COC.

“These students are so motivated to persevere, take initiative and learn on their own that the only barrier we face is we don’t have the funding that the university teams all have,” Ciardi says. “We don’t currently have the funding for our spot on RockSatX. And yet the students persist in their project development.”

The student-designed science experiment for NASA’s High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) will count the occurrences of gamma rays from particle streams in the stratosphere and compare those counts to events on the Earth’s surface.

Meanwhile, the student-designed artwork is set to enclose the exterior of the structure with materials to improve thermal stability, as well as provide COC art students with the opportunity to observe their artworks on the edge of space in flight and to analyze how exposure to near-space conditions alter their artwork, according to Ciardi.

The 2022 launch will be the sixth NASA HASP mission chosen by COC, but none have been as large.

In addition, COC was also selected to participate in NASA RockSatX 2022 after 3 rounds of design reviews competing against university teams.

Running with NASA through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, RockSatX uses a sounding rocket that can carry a payload up to 105 miles in the air, giving experiments access to space-like conditions.

COC’s RockSatX entry will be the third launch of a student-designed autorotation descent vehicle, which would slow the descent on reentry without the use of parachutes or fuel, Ciardi said.

These new achievements are the last for COC students, with five successful HASP missions and two successful RockSatX missions already under the school’s belt.

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