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rocket taking off The Spaceloft SL-4 Rocket designed by UPAerospace Company blasts off with science projects from New Mexico science students. The rocket launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico during the Second Annual Education Launch. (Photo courtesy Jay Kleine)

Science Projects in Space

Private company sends projects into sub orbit

By Jacob Schroeder | null null , null

Student science projects made history when they were blasted off into space at an altitude of about 73 miles, traveling 5.5 times the speed of sound.

The projects were shot up into space aboard the Spaceloft SL-4 Rocket designed by UPAerospace Company. The rocket launched from Spaceport America in New Mexico during the Second Annual Education Launch. It was organized by the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium as a way to teach students about space technology, math, and science. Students from across the state created science projects that were carried into space by the rocket.
     
After reaching space, the projects fell back down to earth, landing 35 miles away at White Sands Missile Range. The payloads were then found and given back to the students. It took about 13 minutes for the students’ science projects to make the round-trip. White Sands Missile Range is located in the desert in southern New Mexico near Spaceport America. It is the largest military range in the United States.

"Watching the rocket blast off was cool!" said Cortney Artman, an 11-year-old from nearby Truth or Consequences Middle School. She and a group of other sixth graders were rewarded with a field trip to the rocket launch for getting good grades in science. They did not have a payload on board.
     
"Students are here to see and understand the importance of science and math," said Nadar Vadie, a teacher from the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Vadie and his students came to watch the rocket blast off with their projects.

"My students gained hands-on science and math experience with the design of payloads," Vadie said. The payloads look like discs or Frisbees. Each one was about a half-inch thick to one-foot across and contained a science project.
     
Teachers and students celebrated the success of the rocket launch at Spaceport America because it was the first time the projects made it to suborbital space. Last year's first annual launch only made it part way.
     
"This is a golden age of imagination on the forefront of aerospace," said Allan Lockheed Jr., whose father started the Lockheed Martin Company. "I am excited to see space history being made again."

Lockheed was at the launch because his family's company was involved in the project. His father was well known because he was a famous aircraft builder.

"There is a lot of energy and joy in seeing new aviation achievements. There are exciting things to come with space travel," Lockheed said.

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Jacob Schroeder is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps,

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