Student Launch Team’s Adventures with NASA

Deadra Miller, staff writer



Rodney Davis, Daniel Hull, and Andrew Oxford talking about their experiences with NASA

The Piedmont Student Launch Team (PSLT) landed in Huntsville, Alabama, earlier this year with a 9-foot handmade rocket to compete with other community colleges and universities alike in various categories at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Representing the only community college in Virginia, entered into the competition and working with astronauts on their rocket was an accomplishment for PSLT.

The team has nine members. At the meeting, three members (Rodney Davis, Daniel Hull , and Andrew Oxford) explained the technical qualities involved with the project. They held a meeting in the North Hall Meeting Room from 12-1 p.m. on Sept. 13, a fair number of intrigued individuals made it to see what PSLT was all about.

The PVCC PSLT had eight months from the time of submission to Launch Day to conduct all the documentation, tests, and adjustments to solidify their place in Huntsville. While this was going on, they also had to learn and find a place to do teleconferences with the NASA astronauts they were consulting with, while they are stationed in Alabama.

Not only did they assemble a 9-foot final rocket to participate in Launch Day, but they also built a 6-foot subscale rocket to use for testing.

The test results that were needed for April 2017 Launch Day was roll induction, meaning that once the rocket began to roll in flight, the team had to figure out a way to counteract that action with a device that was to be concealed within the rocket shell.  These findings were in 15 to 100page reports sent via email and sometimes U.S. mail to the astronauts that were assigned to mentor the projects and teams.

Roll induction was not the only task that PSLT competed in; unofficially, they also competed in the altitude challenge. This year, PSLT is attempting to compete in “altitude and payload challenge with landing a rover with unfolding solar panels,” according to the 20172018 NASA Student Launch Proposal. Ideas and designs are underway for the 2017-2018 season as of Sept. 20.

Along with these requirements, PSLT has to produce educational engagement events involving the community and college. Last year’s choices were Girl Geek Day and a Family Space Exploration Event. With these two events and others, the PSLT exceeded their minimum requirements in attendance by 250 percent.

For more information about The Piedmont Student Launch Team, please check out www.piedmontlaunch.org or their Facebook page @PiedmontLaunch.

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Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Clubs, Events, From the Forum, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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