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It's a blast: Va. students launch experiments into space

Wednesday - 6/19/2013, 9:07pm  ET

rocketlaunch.jpg
Students' rocket launches will look similar to this from a previous launch. (Spacegrant.colorado.edu)

WASHINGTON - What a blast for some area college students: Their work is about to be launched into space from Virginia.

Teams from the Naval Academy and colleges across the country have built science experiments that will be loaded into a rocket and launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

For some students, who are taking part in a program called RockOn, it's the first time they've built experiments to send into space.

"They'll be flying a variety of different standard payload experiments that they have set up for them. These include things such as measuring acceleration, and they have some geiger counters and pressure and temperature, humidity and things like that," NASA's Keith Koehler tells WTOP.

Other students in a more advanced program called RockSat-C built experiments they designed themselves.

At 5:30 a.m. Thursday, the experiments are scheduled to take a quick trip aboard a sub-orbital sounding rocket that's about 40 feet tall.

If all goes according to plan, the rocket will travel about 75 miles above the earth.

It will break apart and the payload, with help from a parachute, will land in the Atlantic Ocean.

The payload, which is about 10 feet long, will then be pulled out of the water and brought back to dry land.

"The students should have in hand, by lunchtime, their experiments, and so they'll start doing the data analysis to see how they did," Koehler added.

Unfortunately, the launch will not be visible with the naked eye from the D.C. region.

The NASA website has more information about the experiments.

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