A Cherokee County School District team has been selected for the NASA Student Launch Program.
Creekview High School’s rocketry team has earned a spot in the competitive project open to high-achieving teams from universities, high schools and middle schools. Middle and high school teams qualify to participate by finishing in the top 20 of The American Rocketry Challenge the previous year. Creekview’s team, the 2018 International Champion, regularly ranks in the nation’s top 20.
This is the third attempt by the Creekview team to try for the NASA Student Launch Program, and its first time to advance past the competitive proposal stage. Only 46 teams nationwide were selected to advance in the competition.
The eight-month challenge, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., “provides a realistic experience for middle school, high school, and college students to follow the engineering design process NASA and industry engineers use when developing and operating new hardware,” according to the agency.
Teams design, build, test and fly a high-power rocket crafted to: achieve an altitude of 3500 to 5500 feet, deliver a scientific or engineering payload, and return safely to the ground. Throughout the challenge, students will present information via video conference to a NASA expert panel in order to advance to the next step in the project. The launch will be held in April, and teams will be scored on their project’s performance, as well as nearly a dozen other categories, including safety, vehicle design, social media presence and STEM engagement, which recognizes their efforts to share their knowledge with younger students.
The Creekview team submitted a winning proposal to build a rocket that will deliver an autonomous rover, which, upon landing will travel a predetermined distance and probe the soil for the presence of water. The rover will relay its findings via radio signal to the students at their ground station. Creekview HS science teacher Tim Smyrl, who sponsors the team, said the students already are “developing their preliminary design in earnest.” The team is made up of: Michael Pena, Project Leader; Johnny Schaly, Engineering Lead; Rand Johnson, Safety Officer; Seth Absher, Dylan Cox, Nate Lindsey and Emerson Shi.
“Congratulations to Creekview and its amazing rocketry team on another impressive achievement,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “They consistently soar above expectations due to their dedication and hard work, the continued leadership of Mr. Smyrl, and the families and community partners that support them. I look forward to seeing this year’s project take flight.”