NATCHITOCHES — A team of Northwestern State University students presented their Flight Readiness Review (FRR) to the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium (LaSPACE) on Monday, gaining permission to launch their payload into space via a weather balloon. . The DemonSats-3 team of Derek Dupre de Houma, Jordan Sensat de Pineville and Arianna Jackson de Mandeville, a student at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, have integrated their payload on ACES-68 flight which will be launched towards noon today from Ragley. The flight can be tracked at https://laspace.lsu.edu/laaces/flightinfo/?fname=ACES-68.
Joshua Lambert of Leesville is a fourth member of the team. The coordinator for NSU’s LaSPACE campus is Dr. Anna Dugas, assistant professor of physics. LSMSA students are eligible to participate in the two-semester program when they are recommended by their professors and apply directly to Dugas when she presents the project at the LSMSA Scientific Seminar.
“This is the third time my teams have sent a payload, but this team is full of rookies,” Dugas said.
“I’m so excited today. We’re going to launch a bog balloon into the sky. I’ve been waiting for this for a year,” Dupre said.
The Louisiana Aerospace Catalyst Experience for Students (LaACES) student hot air balloon program was developed to train a new generation of scientists and engineers for the aerospace industry and general STEM workforce. LaSPACE students are exposed to the development of aerospace projects from the design, manufacture, testing and operation of small payloads launched on a latex sounding balloon vehicle that will transport experiments to the far reaches space, at an altitude of 32 to 35 kilometers.
LaSPACE is a consortium of NASA’s National Space Grants and Fellowships Program Network that is designed to network college, university, and state boards of trustees with partners from business, industry and the not-for-profit sector to develop aerospace science, research, technology, education and awareness. .
LaACES is open to NSU students enrolled in Physics 3400 and/or Physics 3900, as well as other STEM students and students interested in STEM project management and technical writing with instructor permission. The group’s objective is to learn how to carry out a NASA-affiliated project. The project includes the design, construction and testing of the payload, as well as comprehensive documentation including Preliminary Design (PDR), Critical Design (CDR) and Flight Readiness Review (FRR) reports.
“As you can imagine, a successful group should be made up of members with different skill sets: electronics prototyping, microcontroller programming, technical writing, data analysis/statistics, oral presentation, and project management,” Dugas said.