An experiment by Douglas County School (DCS) Montessori Middle School students ended with success aboard a December 12th sub-orbital rocket research flight by private space company Blue Origin.
The student payload consisted of two parts. The first included an Arduino Nano with a sensor package, designed and programmed by the students. The second part contained a school-wide art project that all DCS Montessori students participated in. Upon landing, the data from the experiment will be analyzed and the art will be returned to the students and shared with the community.
DCS Montessori partnered with DreamUp, the leading provider of space-based educational opportunities, to develop a custom curriculum, using this flight opportunity as a teaching moment and engaging as many students as possible with elements of the payload development.
To maximize impact, the middle school students were split into 4 groups, responsible for designing and building the payload enclosure; developing and testing the experiment; generating and organizing a school-wide art project that would enable all students at the school to create something that would be sent into space; and developing an age-appropriate lesson to share with the preschool, lower elementary, and upper elementary students. By engaging the entire school in various aspects of the suborbital experiment, the students were exposed to a real-world challenge that incorporated Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM) in a powerful and effective way.
This payload flew on-board Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle. The sub-orbital rocket flew through the middle atmosphere, an altitude of 31 miles to 62 miles known as the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The New Shepard vertical takeoff and vertical landing vehicle is capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of payloads per flight and will ultimately carry six astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers, the internationally recognized boundary of space.
Development and launch of the student experiment was made possible by funding provided by DCS Montessori School and sponsorships from the Rocky Mountain Section of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Kimley-Horn, one of the nation’s leading design engineering firms. Significant support was provided by DCS Montessori School teachers Mike Catalano and Nicole Gassman who integrated the curriculum into their already busy school year, and by industry volunteers such as Brian Gulliver, who worked directly with the students.
“It was enjoyable to work with such talented students during the development of the experiment and payload enclosure,” said Brian Gulliver, the Aerospace and Spaceport Leader at Kimley-Horn and Associates. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of the student to be able to create something that goes into space and all the students are very excited to get their experiment and art back.”
“In order to have a world where we live and work in low Earth orbit or beyond, we need a workforce prepared to perform all types of activities in space,” said Carie Lemack, Cofounder and CEO of DreamUp. “We are honored to work with Blue Origin and schools like DCS Montessori to inspire and engage the next generation of innovators and explorers.”
“We are delighted to be providing a full range of educational experiences on New Shepard, from K-12 outreach to Ph.D.-level research. Congratulations to DreamUp and DCS Montessori for helping student dreams take flight!” said Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s Business Development Manager.
DreamUp: Carie Lemack, 617-335-3025, [email protected]
Blue Origin: [email protected]
DreamUp provides space-based educational and media services to students and entrepreneurs, with a mission to realize an educational community where space-based research and space-based projects will be available to all students, from primary to post-doctorate, to the International Space Station, and beyond. The first company bringing space into the classroom and the classroom into space, DreamUp is uniquely positioned to engage kids globally with the most cutting-edge space research and developments, and inspire them through scientific discoveries in orbital and suborbital space. DreamUp has a proven track record, having brought over 375 student research payloads worldwide to the International Space Station (ISS) through our partnership with NanoRacks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA.
About Blue Origin:
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company empowered by a vision where millions of people are living and working in space. To achieve our vision, we strive to enable commercial human space transportation by developing reusable rocket engines and launch vehicles that will dramatically lower the cost of access to space. For more information and a list of job openings, please visit us at www.blueorigin.com.