Muscogee Schools: Four teachers to fly on the vomit comet next week

Four Muscogee County high school teachers will conduct weightless, hyper-gravity experiments at NASA Johnson Space Center's Ellington Field in Houston, Texas next week.

Luther Richardson and Laura Solomons from Columbus High, Brenda Howell from Hardaway High and Matt Hanes from Northside High will test student-designed experiments while on board an aircraft modified to simulate a reduced-gravity environment. The flight is commonly called the "vomit comet," since people sometimes get motion sickness.

The teacher team will arrive at Ellington Field on Friday, July 30. The teacher team go through training and fly their experiment Monday, August 2 through Friday, August 6.

The experiment will test the ability of a free floating apparatus, called a Cubesat, to find and center itself on a known source using a control moment gyroscope during the flight. The experiment wasdesigned by Columbus High students Pranam Chatterjee, Priyanka Chatterjee, Kevin Tjen and Ebone Monk.

This type of autonomous system alignment would have applications to space science technology such as holding perfect alignment of an astronaut’s Personal Satellite Assistants to perform work inside or outside the space craft. Another potential application would be small satellites aligning with other small satellites to maximize communication links at a cheaper cost than larger satellites.

Following the flight, the team will evaluate findings and provide results to NASA.

For more information, email communications@mcsdga.net.

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