NASA seeks rocketeers for annual RockOn! shindig

Obligatory: Ability to solder and US passport

Registration is open for the ninth annual NASA-hosted RockOn! workshop, which runs from 18-23 June at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The event is aimed at "university and community college participants interested in building science payloads for space flight". Working in teams of three, participants "will learn the basics of developing an experiment including programing, wiring, and mounting", according to Chris Koehler of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, one of the sponsors.

"In addition, the participants see the advanced details in preparing the rocket for launch and sending it into space," he added.

Indeed, on the last day, the teams' payloads will be launched heavenwards aboard a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket. "Viewing the launch and seeing the results is a highlight of the workshop," Koehler said.

If you're interested in getting a piece of the action, you'll need to be able to solder, and "MUST be familiar with the C, C++, or Arduino programming language". Furthermore, you'll have to be "a U.S. Person" and have the $949 registration fee in your wallet (reduced to $849 if you register before 23 March).

According to NASA, since the first event in 2008, "more than 376 people have participated in the RockOn! workshops and successfully built and launched 119 payloads to space".*

For a taste of what to expect, here's a vid of the 2009 shindig put together by participants Gabriel Herz, Jeffrey LaCombe and Eric Wang.



*NASA's Terrier-Orion sounding rocket can hit an altitude of 73 miles - a tad over 117km - so it does indeed pass the Kármán line.

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