ASU launches students into NASA's RockOn! program
Arizona State University is pioneering accessible pathways for students to engage in space exploration.
One such effort, guided by Eric Stribling, a faculty member in ASU's Interplanetary Initiative, gave two ASU students the opportunity to participate in a seven-day NASA-hosted RockOn! program held at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Sadie Cullings and Noelle Geddis, who are both studying aerospace engineering, particpiated in the program, which empowers students who have the skills to design experiments for suborbital space flight.
As part of the workshop, Cullings and Geddis designed a Geiger counter, a vital tool for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation around Earth.
The Geiger counter, along with additional sensors, was successfully launched into suborbital space, in an effort to help understand the environment beyond our planet’s atmosphere.
Geddis and Cullings said that the experience expanded their horizon and solidified their passion for space industry opportunities.
“There was an incredible amount of work on the students’ part,” Stribling said. “It was a tremendous undertaking that provided unparalleled access to space and its opportunities.”
According to Stribling, the RockOn! program not only imparts technical skills but also nurtures an interdisciplinary and collaborative mindset, which is essential for the future of space exploration. The program also emphasizes the importance of embracing different perspectives.
“I think the best part of the program is that students with any knowledge level can participate and be proud of the experiment they learn to build,” Geddis said. “It is extremely inclusive and inviting to people of all backgrounds and disciplines.”
For Cullings, her RockOn! participation and the variety of space industry options cemented her post-graduate plans.
“This was such a great hands-on chance to develop new skills and to apply the skills you have learned in various ASU courses — applying those skills to a real-world project your team builds and launches into space,” Cullings said.
“This experience opened my mind to possibilities I hadn’t considered; it made me realize how many opportunities there are for anyone interested in space research and development.”
Noelle Geddis and Sadie Cullings solder hardware.Photo courtesy Eric Stribling
Noelle Geddis and Sadie Cullings troublehoot with Chris Koehler of NASA, who dons a Chewbacca outfit from "Star Wars."Photo courtesy Eric Stribling
Noelle Geddis (left) and Sadie Cullings perform CanSat testing ahead of integration into the rocket.Photo courtesy Eric Stribling
Scientists perform CanSat testing ahead of integration into the rocket.Photo courtesy Eric Stribling
Eric Stribling and Sadie Cullings walk the completed CanSat to rocket integration and testing in prep for launch.Photo courtesy Eric Stribling
Scientists CanSat testing ahead of integration into the rocket.Photo courtesy Eric Stribling