Sparkman students head to DC to present payload concept

The group of senior students won the InSPIRESS competition at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Posted: May 17, 2018 11:39 AM
Updated: May 17, 2018 9:40 PM

The team of 10 Sparkman High School Seniors are the first place winners at the InSPIRESS competition.

 "Not even going to lie, when I found out we won, I was kind of in shock," said Trenton Draper.

The group of students were tasked with designing a scientific payload concept for a space craft designed by UAH students. The project had to be both realistic and feasible. 

"Our concept is called SPROUT. Basically, it is a launcher and pod system that will be mounted onto a rover and it will shoot pods that have bacteria in them that produce gases. And we're measuring that to see if bacteria can be used in the future of lunar missions," added Draper.

The group extensively researched genetic mutation of the bacteria in the pods to make sure there is no source of contamination.

"Instead of astronauts having to take big tanks of oxygen, they can just take this bacteria and then create oxygen for a longer period of time rather than having shorter missions," said Carly Fridlin.

Now, the teams focus moves to further developing their payload concept and presenting it to a group of NASA executives in July.

"Something that we're thinking about is saying, okay,we have from like M to Z, now let's start all the way back at A and fill in what happens before launch," added Draper.

The students hope their payload concept will not only become a relaity  but also help reduce the cost of space flight missions.

"We felt it's really important to contribute to the space flight industry by providing a way to decrease costs," said Draper. 

The students will go to Washington, DC for the presentation with NASA on July 21st. They will be competing with teams nationwide. If their concept wins, it will be developed even further. 

The team is looking for financial sponsors to help with the cost of the trip.

For more information on how you can help the team out, call Sparkman High School at (256) 837-0331 and ask for Teresa Hodges. 

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