Working evenings and weekends, an all-girl team spent weeks building a small rocket that could launch and land while protecting delicate cargo inside. Their efforts earned them a spot in the recent White House Science Fair.
The three high schoolers of Team Rocket Power — sophomores Jasmyn Logan and Nia'mani Robinson and senior Rebecca Chapin-Ridgley — built a rocket that flew more than 750 feet (229 meters) and back in less than a minute. It returned itss payload of two raw eggs undamaged, floating softly back to Earth beneath two parachutes.
The Maryland team competed at the Team America Rocketry Challenge earlier this year and was one of 100 teams from several competitions invited to showcase their projects at the White House.
"At NASA, women are not only astronauts; they also run science missions. They engineer and build our many spacecraft," NASA administrator Charles Bolden, who attended the event, wrote on his blog.
"Our chief financial officer, chief scientist and one of our field center directors are women. They are program managers, budget analysts and communicators," Bolden added. "They serve in every capacity and continue to prove something we all know — as Amelia Earhart famously said, men and women are equal 'in jobs requiring intelligence, coordination, speed, coolness and willpower.' "
This year's White House science fair focused on the achievements of girls and women in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM). Also on May 27, Bolden announced a NASA partnership with the free online Khan Academy to create tutorials in these fields.
For more information on NASA's partnership with Khan Academy, visit: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/nasa
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace