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Local students have their heads in the clouds thanks to Orbital ATK

Courtesy Photo/Orbital ATK
More than 50 local high school students tried their hand at becoming space explorers this week as part of the “Go for Launch” program held at Orbital ATK in Dulles this week.

The three-day event saw participants taking part in hands-on STEM and STEAM activities delivered by engineers and space professionals, including retired astronaut and Orbital ATK Space Systems Group President Frank Culbertson.

“We were honored to host this next generation of space explorers at our headquarters and inspire them to design innovative science experiments that could be flown to the International Space Station aboard our Cygnus spacecraft,” Culbertson said in a prepared statement. “By using our campus as a test bed for these activities, we can provide a team of mentors, teachers and role models that will guide these students towards new adventures in deep space exploration and beyond.”

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th) was also on hand for a portion of the program.

The students worked to design experiments and presented them to a panel of judges. The winning experiment looked at how a particular molecule forms in space.

That idea will now be entered into a wider competition. Whoever takes first prize will have their experiment launched into space and tested by astronauts on the International Space Station.

The “Go for Launch” program is presented by the nonprofit Higher Orbits, which promotes STEM, STEAM and leadership traits.

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