The kids were assigned a mission of designing and launching their own satellite payload.

A group of thirty four students from Ryan International Schools in Bangalore had a unique learning experience when they attended a week long mission - Space Challenge programme at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre near Orlando - Florida. In this programme, the students were assigned a mission of designing and launching their own satellite payload within a budget of time and money.

Sheer excitement

Students spent their week long training, touring the facilities at Kennedy Space Centre, interacting with NASA astronauts, exploring the launching - landing facilities for space shuttles , shuttle manufacturing sites, making robots, riding on a shuttle launch simulator, and doing many more exciting things.

The highlight of the programme was designing satellite payload with instrumentations such as GPS, video camera and altimeter. The mission was to launch it to the height of 100,000 feet above the earth's surface.

All the students were enthralled at the success of launch and they could see the curvature of the earth on the ground station while tracking their satellite.

This group is the first group of students from Indian subcontinent to attempt this mission. “Overall, the experience was fabulous as it was something new and exciting. We learnt to communicate and solve problems with friends, being patient and ready to absorb information and advice and teamwork.

The project inspired me and now maybe someday I can become an engineer at NASA. Nothing seems impossible,” said Ananya Bal, a student.

“I think it was learning as well as enjoyable trip. The first week was totally a different experience, wherein we learnt how to work in a team. They made us think on our own. Designing the payload was a wonderful experience, which I think none of us would have even imagined. The robotics and rocketry were the most enjoyable among the activities conducted.

On the day of launch, all of us were excited and also tensed to do our job correctly. But everything went on well and I believe that the time and efforts we put in, really showed,” added Varun Subramanyam.