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King University News :: Students Achieve Successful Launch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Eleven freshman Honors students traveled with Dr. Ray Bloomer, professor of Physics and Astronomy and associate dean for Arts and Sciences, to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville on Nov. 13, as part of a Science Seminar class project, where they attempted to launch their payload into space.

Dr. Bloomer describes the process as the event took place.  “Our students were ready and organized leading up to the count down.  Everything went well until the computers at the launch site told us the balloon has leveled off about 20,000 feet, far below what we had thought we would achieve.  Thus our experiments were not in the region of the atmosphere where we wanted to see the effects of near space.  We think the balloon may have been defective or a valve may have been left open and the helium leaked out, thus limiting the lift into the air.  We will be analyzing data over the next week or so.

“We have been invited back in the spring for another try,” continued Dr. Bloomer.  “This was a great learning experience for our students.  They saw how hard it is to create meaningful experiments, then to build and manage a space flight.  We obtained great video on the way up.  We also probably received data on the temperature inside our payload, the accelerations it underwent on the way up, the strength of the magnetic field it experienced, and maybe some indication of the effects on a bacteria that was onboard.”




Original Article - Freshman Honors Program Students to Launch Project into Space

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Freshman Honors students will soon see all their hard work from the semester come full circle. At the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, freshman Honors students were enrolled in a freshman Science Seminar class. This fall semester was the first time that the one-hour project based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) course was offered for freshman Honors students.

“The Science Seminar allows freshman Honors students the opportunity to become more engaged in the field of science and to have the opportunity to become more practical students,” said Dr. Raymond Bloomer, professor of Physics and Astronomy and associate dean for Arts and Sciences.  “All of the students enrolled in the class have a strong interest in one of the STEM areas.

This semester, the eleven member class has been constructing a full model payload. The self-constructed payload model has been constructed from various scientific parts and instruments, which allow it to be launched into space. The students will have the opportunity to launch the model into space as they take the payload model to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville on Nov. 13. King students will join other colleges and professionals within the science field during the model launch as well.

Trevecca Nazarene launches a high altitude scientific object on a yearly basis through their Science and Mathematics Department. This year their team will launch a high altitude payload object that will travel into space. The payloads are expected to reach 100,000 feet and will provide information on what is in the atmosphere. 

“My son-in-law and daughter were in a Bible study group with a Physics professor at Trevecca,” said Bloomer.  “After learning of their yearly launch project and realizing a balloon launch might be an appropriate project for honors STEM students, I attended a national conference held at Trevecca in June of 2012. I learned a great deal and asked them if we could “hitch a ride” to the stratosphere and they agreed.

“After Trevecca asked us to join them in the launch, we couldn’t pass the opportunity up,” continued Bloomer.  “Seeing the students receive the opportunity to launch their payload into space and view through a camera installed on the object how far it will travel is remarkable,” Bloomer said. “This is truly a hands-on experience our freshman students are receiving and I feel it speaks highly on the academic principles for which King College is known.”

The students have become connected to the model and are proud of the progress they have seen throughout the semester. “As someone who wants to work in the science field, being able to immerse myself in a seminar-based class with other various science majors is fun,” said freshman Austin Patrick. 


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