Skip to Page Level NavigationSkip to Page ContentSkip to Page Contact Information
Rocket launching

Miami Students Go Beyond the Classroom and into Space

RockOn and RockSat-C

Funded by NASA, RockOn and RockSat-C began in 2007. The programs, consisting of students from around the country, give students hands-on experience building payload experiments to launch into space.

The 2012-2013 RockOn program consisted of six Project High Flight students from Miami, six students from local high schools and mentor Randi Thomas. The students used a special kit that instructed them on how to correctly construct a payload that is secure and can withstand the rough environment of a space launch. These payloads measured environmental conditions during the launch, such as humidity, acceleration, temperature, pressure and radiation.

RockSat_C is the next step in the process for students who already completed the RockOn program in a previous summer. This year’s program involved two Project High Flight students, Desmond Dixon and Elizabeth Beumel, and Project High Flight mentor Bob Setlock. This year students designed their own payloads and the experiment.

Rocket display at NASA's facilities
Rocket display at NASA's facilities

Imagine the exhilarating experience of launching an experiment you built into space on a NASA rocket. A group of Miami University students didn’t dream it; they did it. This summer eight Miami students and six students from area high schools took a trip to NASA’s launch facilities in Wallop Island, Va., for the experience of a lifetime. They were participants in the RockOn and RockSat-C programs, funded by NASA.

Paving the way for commercial space travel

The students of RockSat-C worked throughout the school year creating an experiment to launch into space. This year, they designed around the idea that as commercial space travel is becoming more popular, passengers might not have perfect health like astronauts. Precautionary measures will be a necessity.

The students designed an experiment to protect people with artificial joints from infection. These people would need carbon nanotubes to periodically release antibiotics into the joints. The experiment measured if the carbon nanotube releases antibiotics into the joint at a different rate in space.

“The hardest part for us was actually thinking of and designing a meaningful, insightful and feasible research project that everyone on the team was interested in,” said Elizabeth Beumel, chemical engineering major and RockSat-C participant. “It took a couple months of brainstorming and going to the drawing board, but we finally found a project that we were sure would be successful and in the end it was.”

The students also built a payload that safely secured the experiment within the rocket. After successful construction and launch of their payload experiment, the students collected data and concluded that it did, in fact, release antibiotics at a faster rate. The students are now looking to further the project next year to find what causes the release rate to change and how this problem can be corrected.

“I never stop being amazed at how inspiring it is to work with these students and to see them change, and it is a life-changing experience for most of them,” said Bob Setlock, Miami mechanical and manufacturing engineering faculty. “It is a very rewarding thing to see these students go through that transformation.”

Blast off

The students arrived at NASA’s facilities June 15. The RockOn students constructed payloads of their own from special kits while the RockSat-C payload was sent through rigorous pre-launch safety tests. Once the RockOn payloads were completed and the RockSat-C payload passed the pre-launch testing, they were loaded onto the rocket and were ready for an early morning launch.

“The final launch both years has been my favorite part of the experience,” said Beumel. “The launch literally takes your breath away from the shock wave hitting you because we get to stand so close. Once the initial shock is over you realize that you actually sent up something on that rocket, and it is a successful launch. It is an amazing mixture of so many emotions and adrenalin."

She added, “Working on the NASA facilities is very surreal. You feel as if you need to pinch yourself every couple of minutes just to make sure it's not a dream.”

Written By Evan Arnold (Miami ’14), student intern, University Communications and Marketing

Published September 2013

Skip to Page Content
RockOn and RockSat students' signatures on the rocket

RockOn and RockSat students' signatures on the rocket

NASA conference room

NASA conference room

Payloads being loaded into the rocket

Payloads being loaded into the rocket

Payloads

Payloads

Finished rocket on the day of the launch

Finished rocket on the day of the launch

RockOn workshop

RockOn workshop

RockSat-C students working on their payload

RockSat-C students working on their payload

RockSat-C student signing the rocket

RockSat-C student signing the rocket

RockOn participants, Emma Kunimoto and Wei Lu, working on the payload

RockOn participants, Emma Kunimoto and Wei Lu, working on the payload

Students watch as rocket is being constructed

Students watch as rocket is being constructed

Group shot of the students in NASA's facilities

Group shot of the students in NASA's facilities

RockOn and RockSat-C

Funded by NASA, RockOn and RockSat-C began in 2007. The programs, consisting of students from around the country, give students hands-on experience building payload experiments to launch into space.

The 2012-2013 RockOn program consisted of six Project High Flight students from Miami, six students from local high schools and mentor Randi Thomas. The students used a special kit that instructed them on how to correctly construct a payload that is secure and can withstand the rough environment of a space launch. These payloads measured environmental conditions during the launch, such as humidity, acceleration, temperature, pressure and radiation.

RockSat_C is the next step in the process for students who already completed the RockOn program in a previous summer. This year’s program involved two Project High Flight students, Desmond Dixon and Elizabeth Beumel, and Project High Flight mentor Bob Setlock. This year students designed their own payloads and the experiment.

Locations
Luxembourg
West Chester
Middletown
Hamilton
Oxford
  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg

    John E. Dolibois European Center, Luxembourg

    One of Miami's oldest continuous study abroad programs, the Miami University John E. Dolibois Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg offers students the opportunity to enroll in Miami classes taught by European-based and Ohio-based Miami faculty. Students enjoy a unique combination of first-class academics, engagement in the local community, and various faculty-guided and independent travel opportunities.

    Contact and emergency information for the Luxembourg Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    Château de Differdange
    1, Impasse du Château
    L-4524 Differdange
    Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    luxembourg@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/luxembourg

    217-222 MacMillan Hall
    531 E. Spring Street
    Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

    Directions

    Main Operator: 011-352-582222-1
    Oxford-based Coordinator: 513-529-5050
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • West Chester
    West Chester

    Voice of America Learning Center

    Located midway between Cincinnati and Dayton along I-75, the Voice of America Learning Center (VOALC) offers undergraduate and graduate courses and programs drawn from Miami's Regional and Oxford campuses. Home to Miami's MBA program, the Learning Center provides ready access to graduate programs for area educators and courses leading to the BIS degree for undergraduates.

    Contact and emergency information for the Voice of America Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    7847 VOA Park Dr.
    (Corner of VOA Park Dr. and Cox Rd.)
    West Chester, OH 45069
     
    voalc@MiamiOH.edu
    MiamiOH.edu/voalc

    Printable Floor Plan
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-895-8862
    (From Middletown) 513-217-8862
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Middletown
    Middletown

    Middletown Regional Campus

    Nestled on 141 acres near I-75, Miami University Middletown offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Nearby Greentree Health Science Academy immerses Miami's nursing and health information technology students in the health care experience while taking classes.

    Contact and emergency information for the Middletown Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

     4200 N. University Blvd.
    Middletown, OH 45042
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-727-3200
    (Toll-free) 1-86-MIAMI-MID
    Office of Admission: 513-727-3216
    Campus Status Line: 513-727-3477
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Hamilton
    Hamilton

    Hamilton Regional Campus

    A compact, friendly, commuter campus, Miami Hamilton offers bachelor's degrees, associate degrees, and beginning coursework for most four-year degrees. Small class sizes, on-site child care, and flexible scheduling make Miami Hamilton attractive to students at all stages of life and career.

    Contact and emergency information for the Hamilton Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    1601 University Blvd.
    Hamilton, OH 45011
    regionalwebmaster@MiamiOH.edu
    regionals.MiamiOH.edu

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-785-3000
    Office of Admission: 513-785-3111
    Campus Status Line: 513-785-3077
    Emergency info: regionals.MiamiOH.edu/emergency

  • Oxford
    Oxford

    Miami University, Oxford Ohio

    Nationally recognized as one of the most outstanding undergraduate institutions, Miami University is a public university located in Oxford, Ohio. With a student body of 16,000, Miami effectively combines a wide range of strong academic programs with faculty who love to teach and the personal attention ordinarily found only at much smaller institutions.

    Contact and emergency information for the Oxford Campus. Starting with general contact info on the left; additional contact and emergency information on the right.

    501 E. High St.
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Printable Campus Map
    Directions

    Main Operator: 513-529-1809
    Office of Admission: 513-529-2531
    Vine Hotline: 513-529-6400
    Emergency info: MiamiOH.edu/emergency