The Perse School

Perse Rocketry Team enjoy out-of-this-world experience at NASA

16 Jan 2013

Perse Rocketry Team members have been put through their astronautical paces by NASA as part of their prizewinners’ trip to Florida.

William Drake, Pratap Singh, Thomas Myers and Thomas Read won an all-expenses-paid trip to NASA in Florida for their victory in the 2012 UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge.

The special treatment began before they had even touched down on US soil when they were invited to a cockpit chat with the pilot of the 747-400.

During the five-day visit, two days were spent at the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. Starting off on an astronaut training experience they met astronaut Robert C. Springer and took part in a simulated mission, testing their ability to prepare a shuttle for take-off, transfer a payload to the international space station and land safely back at the Space Centre. Everyone had a go on a gyro trainer, used by astronauts to check whether they can still control the space capsule should it go into a spin on re-entry. The rocketeers also visited the Vehicle Assembly Building, the largest single story building in the world, where each rocket is finally assembled and slowly moved out to its launch pad.

Perse Head of Design and Engineering Technology Keith Wilkin who accompanied the team said:

“The trip was an amazing experience and the team absolutely loved it. Astronaut Bob Springer was a truly amazing speaker with the most fantastic CV but, as our own flight commander, Pratap did an impressive job getting the team back safely from the simulated mission.

The whole team were inspired by the science and technology at NASA, further boosting their interests in STEM and possible career aspirations.  Many thanks to Fiona Simpson of Aerospace Defence Security who organised the trip and accompanied us on our adventure.”

While two team members have now left the School to start their undergraduate studies at Cambridge University, two Perse teams are already working on the 2013 UK Rocketry Challenge –  to fly a rocket carrying a single egg on its side to an altitude of 750ft in 48-50 seconds. The Prep school has also been launching rockets this week in rather colder conditions, more on that to follow.



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