Small Satellites for Secondary Students (S4) and Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) Summer Camp

S4 Images
Click the banner to watch our light hearted recruitment video!

July 13-17 at West Virginia University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sponsored by the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium, STEM Enterprise, WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the West Virginia Rocketry Association
Hosted by WVU Department of Physics and Astronomy
Delivered by WVU Physics and Astronomy and the NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center

Contacts: Dr. Dimitris Vassiliadis This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / (304) 293-4920 or Todd Ensign This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / (304) 367-8438


Who: Middle and High School teams. A team is defined as a 1-2 coaches (teachers, parents, mentors) and a group of 3-5 students. (If a group has more than 5 students, they must apply as two "teams".) While no experience is required, this program is intended as a follow up to a team's participation in TARC.

When: July 13-17. Most days are 9am-5pm but we will start at 10 am on Monday and plan to end at 3pm on Friday.

Where: The camp will be held on the WVU downtown campus in White Hall, home of the Physics and Astronomy Department.

What: Small Satellites for Secondary Students (S4), is a NASA sponsored initiative developed by Sonoma State University in California where youth learn to solder, build atmospheric science and GPS experiments to be launched on a balloon or small rocket. In the process the students learn to build advanced electronic circuits, solder, program a microprocessor, and test the system before using it.

The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the nation's largest model rocket competition involving up to 1,000 teams of students The students design a custom built rocket to carry a raw egg and electronics up to a specific altitude and back in a pre-defined time safely. The program engages students in engineering, physics, and solving real-world-problems.

Our summer camp will blend the two programs with student teams learning to both build a small satellite and a rocket that can carry their payload up to approx. 1,000 ft. and back safely. The camp will be led by Ph.D. scientists, NASA education outreach specialists, and WVU students who build much larger satellites as part of a separate NASA project. Your team will learn about atmospheric sciences, electronics and soldering, programming, rocket design and simulation, 3D design and 3D printing, and more. Your team will build the satellite and rocket and will perform a static weather balloon test on their satellite and will launch their payload aboard their rocket. Finally, your team will analyze the data collected and present their findings to the public.

Cost: Thanks to our generous sponsors, this program is being offered for FREE but teams will have to cover their own travel, meals, and lodging expenses as needed. In addition, there is an optional module of the S4 that our budget cannot afford for the teams that allows live telemetry (radio communication). This optional module costs approx. $100 if you choose to add it onto your payload.


Summer Camp Schedule (tentative):

On Monday we will begin with presentations on atmospheric and space science and provide recommendations for related experiments. Beginning on Monday and carrying on through Wednesday, the teams will be  developing their payload, programming the Arduino for data collection, and will build selected rocket components compatible with TARC guidelines. On Thursday, at the end of the workshop the students will fly their payloads on a rocket or balloon, collect measurements, and begin their work on data analysis. On Friday, students will analyze data and develop presentation which will be delivered immediately after lunch in lecture hall.
10 am Welcome, introductions, agenda, atmospheric science.
11 am soldering practice and lesson (cover resistors?)
12 pm Lunch
1 pm Continue soldering and pass "test"
2 pm Introduction to Rocket Science
4 pm RockSim (computer lab)
5 pm dismiss
HW rocksim your design, read about payload and sensors, etc.
9 am Introduction to payload
10 am programming activities
12 pm lunch
1 pm Sensors, what they measure, how, what the data may mean?
2 pm 3D Design
4 pm Rocket Building from RockSim
5 pm dismiss
HW finish any 3D designs
9 am Assemble and test solder joints S4 payload
12 pm Lunch
1 pm Testing of sensors
3 pm tethered balloon testing
4:30 pm download data
5 pm dismiss
HW  data analysis
9 am Present initial data
10:30 am Finish rockets
12 pm Lunch
1 pm Mylan Park to launch rockets
2:30 pm Return to WVU
3 pm Download data and analyze
5 pm dismiss
HW work on presentations
9 am How to compete in TARC in 2016
10 am finish presentation
12 pm lunch
1 pm presentations
3 pm dismiss