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Student Research Heading Skyward in Rocket Test

A team of Florida Tech students and faculty, partnering with NASA Kennedy Space Center and Vencore Inc., will head to Wallops Island, Virginia, later this month to witness a sounding rocket experiment they helped design and build get launched 120,000 feet into the sky.

The project is called ARISE, for Aerospace wire-Repair Intelligent System Experiment. It involves taking a wire repair method developed by NASA and Vencore that has been tested numerous times in a ground environment and seeing if it works in the microgravity created by the 15-minute rocket flight.

It is expected that the tests will verify the effectiveness of the repair method for a microgravity and vacuum environment. The launch is scheduled for 6 a.m. on March 22.

The team won funding for the experiment through the NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project Student Flight Research Opportunity program.

The students involved are Logan Giacco, Nicholas Cushing, Brace White, Archana Tikayat Ray, Ford Mattice, Brendan Swiger and Larissa Balestrero Machado. Faculty involved are Principal Investigator Hamid Hefazi and co-Principal Investigator Kurt Winkelmann, and faculty advisors Markus Wilde and Razvan Rusovici. Tracy Gibson represented KSC/Vencore.

Florida Tech is one of just 40 universities nationwide chosen to participate in this NASA testing program.

Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. March 22 on the Wallops Ustream site at

PICTURED: The heating blocks of the ARISE instrument.

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