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Thursday March 15th, 2018

Failure IS an Option at New Summer Camp Program

Registration Now Open

(Alamogordo, New Mexico, March 14, 2018) – Planes, robots, stars, and rocket failures – on purpose - are on tap for the Summer 2018 lineup of Rocketeer Academy camps at the New Mexico Museum of Space History.

IMAGE: Although this was a success, the shuttle booster Drop Test Article was “largely unreusable,” according to NASA, after its parachutes tore apart at high speed in a later drop in 1977. (Photo Courtesy: NASA)

Although this was a success, the shuttle booster Drop Test Article was “largely unreusable,” according to NASA, after its parachutes tore apart at high speed in a later drop in 1977. (Photo Courtesy: NASA)

“Space exploration is tough – that’s why it’s called rocket science,” said Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll. “For Summer 2018, we’re very excited to add a challenging new activity to our programs - Rocket Science Investigators. Developed in conjunction with the Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research (CASSMAR), this program will engage kids in learning how aerospace engineers learn from failure so they can design better rockets and spacecraft.”

CASSMAR, located at the University of Texas in El Paso, is emerging as a leader in applying forensic tools to analyzing aerospace accidents, such as the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. CASSMAR is a multidisciplinary cross functional center that focuses on risk reduction research in order to make commercial human spaceflight safer and more successful.

Former NASA astronaut John “Danny” Olivas, Ph.D., led the initiative to establish CASSMAR at UTEP, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “Spaceflight is a collaborative solution,” Olivas said. “As an astronaut, you don’t get to space on your own, you stand on the shoulders of giants who put you there.”

As part of Rocket Science Investigators, Rocketeer Academy cadets will design and test parachutes and simulate NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. Academy staff will build and fly model rockets with deliberate flaws so that students can recover the craft and investigate the causes that made it crash, with the goal of building a better safer rocket.

“This is where failure is an option,” said Orwoll. “You learn more by testing hardware beyond its limits, seeing where it breaks, and working out how to build it better.”

Other camp sessions will cover astronomy, aviation, and robotics for students entering grades K-9. Summer camp weekly programs begin on the first Monday in June and continue into July. Along with other activities, each cadet builds and launches their own model rocket. Sessions for grades 4 and above include a field trip and museum sleepover. Lunch is provided for all programs.

For more information about Rocketeer Academy’s Summer Camp 2018, visit the museum website or call the education department.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 or toll free 1-877-333-6589 or visit the website at www.nmspacemuseum.org. Like us at: www.facebook.com/NMSpaceMuseum/