STEM Space Club

22 June 2017 | 2016_News

This week the Students taking part in the STEM Experiments in Space Club truly began the countdown to their mission to the International Space Station (ISS).  After weeks of hard work and planning, the girls got their first taste of a launch and also got the opportunity to analyse real time data from the device that they will eventually be sending to space in August.  They also got the opportunity to spend the night under the stars and observe the ISS fly directly overhead.

With temperatures rapidly falling to around 4 degrees and in complete darkness the girls arrive at their camp location at Lake Bolac and immediately get to work putting up their tents.  In an excellent display of teamwork and resilience the team managed to have all tents up, the camp fire lit and warm drinks on the go Within 30 minutes.  The plan at this point is to start the first of the science lessons; an observation of the night’s sky, but the one thing that the girl’s enthusiasm can’t win over is Mother Nature herself and right on cue comes the cloud, covering the entire sky.  Spirits not dampened, we check the weather forecast and change our plan. Noticing a break in the cloud early the next morning we set our alarm clocks for 0600.

Showing real dedication, at 6am the girls wake to have their early morning Science lesson and now we have perfect views of the planets Venus and Saturn. The early morning wakeup call also allowed the girls to see the ISS, the satellite on which their experiment will be conducted, pass directly overhead and at precisely 6:33am, exactly planned the girls get their first sight of the ISS.

Now to the launch.  To test that all the equipment was working, in conditions as close to space as we could get here on Earth, meant conducting an early morning, high altitude balloon launch and due to a range of aviation restrictions and legal requirements this balloon launch took place 3 hours west of Melbourne at Lake Bolac.  The balloon would reach heights of over 20,000 feet and carry the same Sagan Space Lab that the girls have been working on for the last 3 months.  At such high altitudes all the sensors on the Sagan Space Lab could be tested and data collected.

Balloon launch complete, the next steps for the girls is to get back in the classroom and complete final testing of their computer code and experiment, analyse the data from the balloon and prepare for the main launch to space in August. The Final Countdown has begun!


Mr Lonsdale

Learning Leader Science and STEM