Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Students to compete in astronaut challenge

Riverdale High students

Houston, Riverdale has a problem, albeit a good one.

Back in October, some Riverdale High School students participated in a state-wide high school STEM competition called the Student Astronaut Challenge.

Their efforts landed them an opportunity to compete at the Kennedy Space Center.

Students Jane Maag, Cassy Mobley, Luke Chin A Foeng, Matthew Villaverde and Henry Maag excelled in the regional round of competition and earned the opportunity to move on to compete in a 15-team state-wide challenge, hosted by NASA.

In the next challenge, the quintet of talented Riverdale students will compete in the Shuttle Aeronautics and Avionics categories. Dr. Frank Palaia, who trained in the space shuttle simulator at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), will serve as the students’ coach and trainer.

The formal competition will take place Feb. 26-28, 2015, at KSC.

The students will face such challenges as “flying a shuttle” from Kennedy Space Center, proceed into Earth’s orbit and safely return to the space center and land the shuttle.

The five-student team will consist of a Pilot, Mission Specialist and  Commander in the shuttle, and two students at Mission Control in a separate location.

During the flight, the team will be surprised with operations-related engineering problems to solve. The problems can range from a sticky hydraulic valve to a need to abort the mission.

The competition will also include three separate challenges which broaden the STEM basis of the competition.

The team will be required to develop and present an experimental proposal that could be performed on the International Space Station, complete a written test on the history and current status of the country’s space programs, and be given a surprise engineering problem by a panel of judges to solve as a group in 50 minutes, followed by presenting and defending their solution to the judges.

For more information about the Student Astronaut Challenge, click here.

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