The Parthenon

MU S.P.A.C.E. to build payloads for NASA

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Formerly the MU Rocketry Club, the Marshall University Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration is working on designing and building payloads to be included on rockets or weather balloons.

The club used to focus more on building and launching model rockets that varied in size and shape but have since entered a partnership with NASA to build satellites. These satellites, or payloads, read various types of atmospheric data.

The data is then sent back to the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, which helps fund the group.

Club President Tyler Bonnett said everyone is welcome to join.

“It mostly attracts science majors, because that’s the kind of person that’s interested, but anyone with an interest can join,” Bonnett said. “You don’t need any actual rocket, or payload building experience.”

Bonnett said he thinks because of NASA’s involvement, things have happened rather fast.

“I think now we’re all involved in more technical stuff, but stuff that is still learnable for those who want to join the group,” Bonnett said.

Interested students can attend weekly meetings.

“One group is building a payload for a rocket being launched in Virginia over the summer and one group is designing another payload that will be launched in a weather balloon at the end of this semester,” Bonnett said.

One group is building a payload for a rocket being launched in Virginia over the summer and one group is designing another payload that will be launched in a weather balloon at the end of this semester.”

— Tyler Bonnet, S.P.A.C.E. President

Meetings typically open with progress reports and then break off into separate groups, where students work on different projects through the duration of the meeting.

MU S.P.A.C.E. is launching a tethered weather balloon with NASA Feb. 28 at Fairmont State University. They are also launching an untethered balloon set to reach around 80,000 ft. above the surface of the Earth in April and a payload launch on a NASA rocket in Virginia during the summer.

The club will continue to design new projects every year with NASA funding and ultimately plans to launch a CubeSat, a miniature cubic satellite, meant for space research.

S.P.A.C.E. meetings take place at 5:30 p.m. every Thursday room 281 of the Science Building.

William Izzo can be contacted at [email protected]

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