NASA Balloon Launch
We are a member of the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium. Each October, NASA awards $1000 fellowships to 11 of our students (freshmen preferred). Our students have priority for summer internships at NASA sites such as NASA Langley and the Independent Verification and Validation site in Fairmont, WV. NASA provides technical advice for our Space Club to build payloads to be launched from NASA rockets. In addition, NASA engineers visit to speak to our students.
2017 NASA Fellowship winners
Winners of this year’s awards are Richard Calo, Randy Corathers, Rebecca Davis, Emily Kearney, Mark Leadingham, Angela Meyer, Bobbi Mitchell, Jericho Norris, Ethan Randolph, Nathan Swalley, and Josh Tenney. The announcement was made by Wesleyan professor Dr. Joseph Wiest, who also serves as a member of the NASA Board. “We select winners based on their academic record and their commitment to a discipline of interest to NASA,” explained Dr. Wiest.
Downlink from the International Space Station
January 25, 2018—Today we invited more than 200 fourth and fifth graders to Wesleyan to participate in a live conversation with astronauts on board the International Space Station.
Sept. 17, 2017 — Angela Meyer and Mark Leadingham attended a training session for the Space Public Outreach Team at Green Bank. Our nine SPOT members are undergraduate student ambassadors who are paid to give science-based presentations to K-12 students in WV.
Space Club balloon launch
Students launched tethered helium balloons from the front of our science building. The payload was a magnetic-field sensor, an accelerometer, and a Geiger counter. Dr. Steven Hard came from NASA Fairmont to advise us.
Space Club projects
Spring Semester 2018— Becca Davis and Bobbi Mitchell are building temperature sensors using a thermocouple and an Arduino computer interface, which will be launched in a NASA sounding rocket at Wallops Island next June in the Rock-Sat-X program.
Fall Semester 2017—Randy Corathers is designing and building a brushless DC motor. Jericho Norris is building an electromagnetic energy harvester. Josh Tenney is building a temperature controller using a Raspberry Pi computer interface. Emily Kearney is building an infrared laser resonance detector using a Raspberry Pi. Mark Leadingham is using a Comdyna GP-6 analog computer to simulate chaotic motion.
Summer 2017—Jeremy Marsh worked on laser-induced fluorescence in our plasma physics lab. Angela Meyer worked on a rocket payload to measure vibrations during flight.
August 21, 2017—Today the moon’s 70-mile-wide shadow crossed the entire United States. At Wesleyan, viewers could see a partial eclipse, in which the moon covered 88% of the sun. The Space Club organized an eclipse party in front of Wesley Chapel. Space Club President Angela Meyer explained, “We had plenty of solar eclipse glasses on hand. We wanted everyone to safely enjoy this occurrence. In addition, we equipped a telescope with a solar filter.”
June 24, 2017—Angela Meyer and Olivia Rycroft travelled to the NASA launch facility at Wallops Island to help NASA engineers install their payload on a Terrier Improved Orion sounding rocket. They observed the launch and retrieved their payload. Afterward, they presented their results to the engineers at the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Center in Fairmont, WV.
April 1, 2017—This was a Space Club community-engagement event. We invited students K-12 to participate in a paper airplane contest, a hydrofoil contest, a drone-flying demonstration, a physics scavenger hunt, and a crypto-relay. In addition, our Science Public Outreach Team gave an astronomy presentation.
February 14, 2018—Tony Lindeman spoke on the Space Launch Systems. He is a senior systems engineer for the X-37 flight demonstration project at NASA-Marshall in Huntsville, Alabama. The project’s objective is to test rocket-system performance in atmospheric and orbital flights.
October 11, 2017—Dr. Darrel Tenney described NASA missions throughout the years, including the Apollo moon project, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and current work on a launch system for human space flight possibly to Mars and beyond. Dr. Tenney has a 30-year career at NASA-Langley.
Daniel Keenan—The NASA design process includes careful testing, integrity, and teamwork. He applies these principles in designing thermally protective outer shells of spacecraft. Keenan is an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center.
Internships at NASA
Fall 2017—Cody O’Meara had an internship at NASA Glenn. “I worked to improve lithium-ion batteries by improving the electrodes.”
Summer 2017—Emily Kearney had an internship at the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Center in Fairmont, WV. She focused on the Commercial Crew Program, a partnership with companies to develop safe and reliable transportation to the International Space Station.
Summer 2017—Corey Rhodes had an internship at NASA Glenn. He improved a computer model of rocket flight characteristics using an Arduino circuit to record data from an accelerometer and a pressure altimeter. Corey will work at NASA Glenn when he finishes his M.S. at Virginia Tech.
William George’s internship at NASA Langley: “I analyzed data from the Multi-Mission Earth Entry Vehicle. I tested results in Langley’s 20-foot wind tunnel. My research mentor was Wesleyan graduate Chris Kuhl.”
Katie Reid had an internship at NASA Fairmont: “I worked on the Orion spacecraft, which will take astronauts further into space than ever before, past the moon to possibly even Mars. We analyzed data from Orion’s first test flight using Python software.”
Josh Hiett’s internship at NASA Fairmont improved the user interface of the Rover-X, which is a four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle developed at NASA-Fairmont. His internship resulted in employment with TMC Technologies, a NASA subcontractor. Josh writes software to simulate the hardware of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Devon Miller’s internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center: “I worked on the lunar dust mitigation project. Astronauts have difficulty breathing if too much dust enters their living areas. We chose a low-power electron beam in an electric field.”
Cody O’Meara’s internship at NASA Langley: “I designed an improved a rotating diffuser, ordered supplies, built the diffuser, and tested it in their anechoic chamber.”
Jacob Poldruhi’s summer internship at NASA Glenn: “I found a way to recycle plastic into useful materials such as water and fuel to support astronauts as they venture out to explore the Solar System.”