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Student Scientists Shoot Best Efforts Into the Blue

April 24, 1986

About 2,500 students turned out last Friday for a day in space at the fourth annual air show put on by juniors and seniors in Judy Harold's earth science classes at San Gabriel High School. Students spent six weeks preparing for the show, which was dedicated to the seven astronauts lost in the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Students bought their own kits and built about 90 rockets as part of classroom assignments that covered basic scientific concepts, the mathematical techniques required for tracking and recovering spacecraft, and electrical circuitry for launch control.

They spent the morning launching 25 of the rockets and measuring the distances traveled. Students also visited booths with displays and career information provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and watched radio-controlled flights of model helicopters and a fixed-wing trainer airplane.

Speakers included Taylor Wang, a JPL scientist who showed slides and spoke of his experiences as an astronaut on the April, 1985, Challenger space mission, and Jack Lambie, who was part of the Gossamer Condor team that developed the world's first man-powered aircraft, propelled by bicycle pedals. Students also participated in a contest to determine which packaging best protected a raw egg dropped 35 feet from a tree-service boom. Harold said that 30 of the 36 eggs dropped survived the fall, giving the San Gabriel High School students a much lower failure rate than that recorded in a similar competition at UCLA.

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