Exciting times for Priestlands (Year 7) Rocket Scientists…
…Wednesday 4th April 2018 saw the successful launch of of a NASA WXR Black Brant sounding rocket, carrying our very own Priestlands Penguin micro-sculpture into space!
The UK schools Sugre-1 micro-sculpture competition entries were sent from the UK to the Marshall Islands in the Pacific a few weeks ago ready for the launch. The 120 micro-sculptures are a small part of the payload on the McEntaffer Group rocket experiment from Penn State University, USA.
NASA launched the Water Recovery X-Ray rocket (WRX) from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This suborbital sounding rocket is a research rocket that flies in a parabolic path, according to Penn State, which is working with the space agency on this project. The WRX will be the first sounding rocket mission from the Kwajalein Atoll to utilize NASA’s newly developed water recovery system, an alternative to typical land recoveries.
The parabolic flight path allows for the micro-sculptures to be released and filmed in micro-gravity, these mini flight paths will then be analysed by UK based Dynamic Imaging Analytics (DIAL), who supported the schools micro-sculpture competition.
The short flight was successful and the rocket was recovered from the water! So fingers crossed, eventually Spacepenguin will be returned to Priestlands after its ‘out of this world’ adventure!
This is the first of two NASA launches of astronomy experiments this April, to study how stars in our galaxy are born and how they die, from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. “Supernova remnants in our galaxy are good to study due to their proximity, which makes them large, bright targets on the sky,” said Randy McEntaffer, principal investigator of WRX at Penn State University.