High school students create winning design for NASA's first flight of Orion

Apr 28, 2014 by Ann Marie Trotta
NASA’s Administrator, Charles Bolden (left), Marillyn Hewson, President/CEO of Lockheed Martin (right), and astronaut Rex Walheim (back) stand with Team ARES, from the Governors School for Science and Technology in Hampton, Va. , winners of the Exploration Design Challenge high school competition. Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —After a year-long competition among high school teams across the country, evaluators from NASA, Lockheed Martin and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected Team ARES, from the Governor's School for Science and Technology in Hampton, Va., as the winner of the high school portion of the Exploration Design Challenge (EDC).

The announcement Friday came during a ceremony held at the opening of the 2014 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington. Team ARES was chosen from a group of five finalist teams announced in March.

The EDC was developed to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by inviting them to help tackle one of the most significant dangers of human space flight—radiation exposure.

"This is a great day for Team ARES – you have done a remarkable job," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who helped announce the winning team. He continued, "I really want to congratulate all of our finalists. You are outstanding examples of the power of American innovation. Your passion for discovery and the creative ideas you have brought forward have made us think and have helped us take a fresh look at a very challenging problem on our path to Mars."

Team ARES now will work with the NASA and Lockheed Martin spacecraft integration team to have the product of their experimental design approved for spaceflight. Once the equipment is approved, engineers will install it onto Orion's crew module. Later this year, when Orion launches into orbit during Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), Lockheed Martin will host Team ARES at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch their experiment launch into space.

During the EFT-1, Orion will fly through the Van Allen Belt, a dense radiation field that surrounds the Earth in a protective shell of electrically charged ions. Understanding and mitigating radiation exposure during Orion's flight test can help scientists develop protective solutions before the first crewed mission. After EFT-1, the students will receive data indicating how well their design protected a dosimeter, an instrument used for measuring radiation exposure.

Speaking at the U.S.A Science and Engineering Festival, Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson said, "The Exploration Design Challenge has already reached 127,000 students worldwide – engaging them in real-world engineering challenges and igniting their imaginations about the endless possibilities of space discovery."

Students around the world in grades K-12 still can be part of Orion's first flight by completing an online radiation shielding activity. Students who complete the activity by June 30 will have their names flown as virtual crew members aboard Orion.

Explore further: NASA's Orion spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

More information: www.nasa.gov/education/edc

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's Orion spacecraft comes to life

Oct 29, 2013

(Phys.org) —NASA's first-ever deep space craft, Orion, has been powered on for the first time, marking a major milestone in the final year of preparations for flight.

Image: Readying Orion for flight

Jun 26, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The NASA team at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has completed the final weld on the first space-bound Orion capsule. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) Orion will be shipped ...

Orion Crew capsule targeted for 2014 leap to high orbit

Mar 21, 2012

NASA is on course to make the highest leap in human spaceflight in nearly 4 decades when an unmanned Orion crew capsule blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on a high stakes, high altitude test flight in ...

Recommended for you

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

2 hours ago

The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.

Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

3 hours ago

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series ...

Sandblasting winds shift Mars' landscape

7 hours ago

High winds are a near-daily force on the surface of Mars, carving out a landscape of shifting dunes and posing a challenge to exploration, scientists said Tuesday.

PanSTARRS K1, the comet that keeps going

10 hours ago

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there! Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near ...

User comments : 0