When Space X exploded in midair – the second of such a mishap to happen to NASA – it didn’t just shatter Elon Musk (the agency that built the Rocketship) and Nasa but all the dreams and hearts of students from McMinnville High who worked hard to build a science project being carried into space by SpaceX Falcon 9. Months were spent on the after-school project.
“It’s hard,” said Deborah Jackson, 17, one of two Oregon students who traveled to Florida with teachers and family to watch the launch. “We put a lot of work into it. To see it at the bottom of the Atlantic is definitely discouraging.”
The McMinnville experiment was among 30 other packed on board the rocket. Astronauts on the space station were going to plug it in so readings could be sent back to Earth every three days. The project was about the size a butter cube.
Jackson was one of 16 students who helped work on their nanolab project to monitor the effects of zero gravity on corrosion of metals. Students finished a prototype over winter break and created the in-flight version by early March. They spent countless hours on the project.
“It becomes like an engineering project,” said MaryBeth Kramer, the engineering projects teacher for the McMinnville High School Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy. “You work until it’s done.”
It’s back to the drawing board for the students. Hopefully, next time their project just might reach its destination.