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May 14, 2013 > Students reach beyond the stars!

Students reach beyond the stars!

Submitted By Ivy Phung, Nithya Murugan, Emily Tran, and Miloshi Mehta.

Not many people have the opportunity to send something to outer space, but our team of fourteen students is doing just that. We attend Fremont Christian School and our school is one of only seven selected to send a project to the International Space Station this year. These seven schools collaborate to create individual projects that operate in NanoLabs provided by NanoRacks, LLC.

You may remember us from the article in the April 6, 2012 issue of the Tri-City Voice, but in case you don't, we are Fremont Christian School's International Space Engineering Team. Last year, our team built a project that flew to the International Space Station (ISS) from the French Guiana Space Center, located in the jungles of northern South America. We built a micro-gravity robot that moved horizontally in two directions across an x-y plane. The purpose was to show how micro-gravity affected objects that use fans for propulsion. The project launched in March and just returned on September 17.

When we finally received the project back from space, safety precautions such as goggles and gloves, were necessary. The project showed signs of rusting and the potential presence of E. Coli (a type of bacteria). We noticed rust on the black wires connecting the camera and some stains on the inside of the box. Unfortunately, we weren't able to control the project and get useful data due to a spill. The spill caused short circuiting of the electronic components.

Although we didn't get to test our project and some may say that we failed, you can say that we are following in the footsteps of early NASA. Even though NASA failed many times in its race to beat the former Soviet Union to the moon, they kept trying, just like we will.

This year, our project is still based on the idea of building a robot, but our purpose has changed to testing microgravity on the ISS. More specifically, this project is attempting to verify the orientation of gravity in a cost-effective manner. We receive data every three days. Also, this year, our project is testing a very practical concept - acceleration due to gravity onboard the ISS - using a ball bearing inside a glass tube and photogates (timing devices).

Our project is currently traveling around the Earth at 18,000 miles per hour. On May 15, the project is scheduled to leave ISS and land in Russia onboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. From there, the project travels with projects from other schools we collaborated with, via NASA aircraft, to Houston, TX. After that, our project travels back to a partner school in the Bay Area and then returns to us. We hope to have it back by the end of this month.

Please follow our progress on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FCS.Space.Engineering) or our blog (www.ourflyingrobot.tumblr.com). We'll let you know how everything's going each week.

This year's Fremont Christian Space Engineering Team:
Samuel Antonio, Michelle Boutell, Joshua Cadaing, Serena Fan, Bill Huang, Micaehla May, Miloshi Mehta, Nithya Murugan, Josiah Pang, Ivy Phung, Savraj Sekhon, Liana Simpson, Emily Tran, James Yang, Mr. Matthew Miller (Mentor), Mr. David Morris (Mentor), Mr. Ron May (Mentor), Mr. Robert Antonio (Mentor).

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