A team of Gadsden State students has been selected along with twelve other teams from various minority-serving institutions across the U.S. and Puerto Rico to test their science experiments in microgravity conditions.
Team members Kenneth Burton of Jacksonville, Dylan Burns of White Plains, Corey Edwards of Anniston, along with Jeremy Ponder and Ben Trickett of Munford will travel on a Reduced Gravity Education Flight (RGEF) with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) the week of July 7.
Each team designs, flies and evaluates a reduced-gravity experiment that aims to fill technology needs and knowledge gaps previously identified by NASA.
They will test their experiments aboard a specially modified aircraft able to simulate a reduced-gravity environment. The aircraft flies approximately 30 sets of rollercoaster-like climbs and dives, producing periods of near weightlessness and hypergravity ranging from 0 to 2 g’s.
“We are excited that our program provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring scientists and engineers to study and understand their craft. By participating in this innovative program, the students gain useful skills through collaborative planning and teamwork,” said Frank Prochaska, RGEF program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The 2014 MUREP teams are from Austin Community College, Austin, Texas; California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Dallas County Community College District, Dallas; Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Alabama; San Jose State University, San Jose, California; Texas Southern University, Houston; University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Robeson Community College, Pembroke, North Carolina; University of Houston; University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico; University of Southern California, Los Angeles; University of Texas at El Paso; and, University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.
MUREP is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to sustain a diverse workforce. Participation in NASA projects and research stimulates students to continue their studies at all levels of higher education and earn advanced degrees in these critical fields.
Instructors and sponsors for the team of students from the Ayers Campus are Audrey Webb (Electronics Engineering) and Barry Abernathy (Drafting Design).
For more on MUREP, visit: www.nasa.gov/education/murep. For more on RGEFP, visit: http://reducedgravity.jsc.nasa.gov/.