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Two COC Student-Led Projects Selected For NASA Flights

Two student-led science projects from College of the Canyons have been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and are set to be launched in 2022.

This is the first year that a COC student-researched and written proposal was selected for a large payload, as well as the first time that the school has incorporated student-designed functional art as a part of the project, according to Teresa Ciardi, Professor of Astronomy and Physical Science at COC.

“These students are so motivated to persist, take initiative, and learn on their own, that the only barrier we face is that we lack the funding that the university teams all have,” said Ciardi. “We currently do not have the funding for our spot on RockSatX. And still the students persist with their project development.”

The student-designed science experiment for NASA’s High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) will count gamma-ray occurrences from particle streams in the Stratosphere and compare those counts to occurrences at Earth’s surface. 

Meanwhile, the student-designed artwork is set to encase the outside of the structure with materials to enhance thermal stability, as well as provide COC art students with an opportunity to observe their artwork at the edge of space during flight and analyze how exposure to near-space conditions changes their artwork, according to Ciardi.

The 2022 launch will be the sixth NASA HASP mission for which COC was chosen, however none have been as large.

In addition, COC was also selected to take part in NASA RockSatX 2022 after 3 rounds of design reviews competing against university teams. 

Run through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium alongside NASA, RockSatX utilizes a sounding rocket capable of carrying a payload up to 105 miles in the air, allowing experiments to access space-like conditions. 

COC’s RockSatX submission is set to be the third launch of a student-designed autorotation descent vehicle, which would slow descent upon reentry without the use of parachutes or fuel, according to Ciardi.

These new accomplishments are the latest for COC students, with five successful HASP missions and two successful RockSatX missions already under the school’s belt.

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Two COC Student-Led Projects Selected For NASA Flights

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About Jade Aubuchon

A Santa Clarita native, Jade has spent her whole life involved in community outreach. After graduating from Learning Post High in 2015, she went on to College of the Canyons to pursue a double major in English and Marketing. Jade spent several years as a ballroom dance performer for a local studio and has performed at public and private events throughout Santa Clarita. As KHTS Co-News Director Jade oversees the KHTS news team, which covers all the latest news impacting Santa Clarita. Along with covering and writing her own news stories, Jade can be heard broadcasting the daily local news every weekday morning and afternoon drive-time twice an hour on KHTS 98.1FM and AM-1220. Jade is also instrumental in reporting on-the-scene local emergencies, covering them on-air and via Facebook Live and YouTube. Another dimension to Jade’s on-air skills and writing are her regular political and celebrity interviews, including her bi-monthly interview with our Congressman Mike Garcia and many other local politicians and community leaders.