HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Some of the best student scientists from across the country are hard at work on their model rockets, set to launch this spring as part of NASA’s Student Launch Initiative. Student teams will display and launch their vehicles at a rocket launch event April 25-28 hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Each vehicle must be designed to carry a tracking device and a recoverable science payload. The rocket itself is required to be reusable and reach an altitude of one mile during flight.

Middle and high school students from Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin are taking part in the program that provides students a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in aerospace and engineering activities.

The initiative encourages student teams to put their science, technology, engineering and math knowledge to use in a real-world situation by designing and building their own rockets with a science payload. They spend the school year fine-tuning and building their rockets.

This program helps NASA to continue its tradition of investing in the nation’s education projects. The agency seeks to foster learning environments that will inspire young people to set their sights on venturing to the moon, Mars and destinations beyond.

After the flight, the teams will collect data from the payload, analyze it and report the results to NASA engineers and scientists, who will evaluate each rocket design, including propulsion systems, materials used for construction, payload and safety features.

Participating in the project this year are twelve new teams and four returning teams from the 2005-2006 event. The new teams receive a $2,500 grant for their projects. Returning teams receive $1,250.

The new teams are:

– Benson High School, Omaha, Neb.
– Boy Scout Troop 39, Marlborough, Conn.
– Byron High School, Byron, Ill.
– Covenant Christian High School, Indianapolis, Ind.
– Lloyd C. Bird High School, Chesterfield, Va.
– St. Andrews Lutheran Church and School, Park Ridge, Ill.
– Statesville Christian High School, Statesville, N.C.
– Warner Robins High School, Warner Robins, Ga.
– Weare Middle School/John Stark Regional High School, Weare, N.H.
– West Point-Beemer High School, West Point, Neb.
– Yough High School, Herminie, Pa.

The returning teams are:

– Lakewood High School, Lakewood, Colo.
– Madison West High School, Madison, Wis.
– Plantation High School, Plantation, Fla.
– Southfield High School, Southfield, Mich.

Marshall manages the Student Launch Initiative in partnership with Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, which will host this year’s launch day activities, and the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association.

The Student Launch Initiative is not a competition. NASA will recognize teams with plaques for excellence.

For more information, visit Marshall’s academic affairs Web site at:

For more information on the Student Launch Initiative, visit: