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Summit High A Finalist In NASA Competition PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 March 2014 04:05

NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CNS) — A team from Summit View High School in North Hollywood was chosen as one of five finalists in a design competition for a system to protect a radiation-measuring instrument aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

The winning team will be announced in April at the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., and will have their experiment aboard Orion’s first test flight. They will also get to travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch.

“We have been very impressed with the quality of research, the depth of knowledge and the level of critical thinking with each design,” said Joe LeBlanc of Lockheed Martin, which is sponsoring the Exploration Design Challenge, along with NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace.

The goal is to design an experiment to protect a dosimeter, an instrument that will measure cosmic radiation as Orion passes through the Van Allen radiation belt in its first test flight later this year.

The Van Allen belt, part of the Earth's magnetic field, arches out of the poles and is between 8,100 miles and 37,300 miles from the surface of the planet.

The other finalists are teams from Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill.; Erie High School in Erie, Kan.; Herriman High School in Herriman, Utah; and Governor's School for Science and Technology in Hampton, Va.

The challenge provides educators and students an opportunity to tackle one of the major risks of long-duration space flights — the dangers of radiation, and the need to protect astronauts as they venture to places never before explored by humans.

The Orion spacecraft, successor to the retired Space Shuttle, will be capable of manned missions in Earth's orbit. Its first uncrewed mission is set for 2017.

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