Students from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, together with students from Durham School of the Arts and Jordan High School, collectively known as the Durham Area Rocketry Team, participated in the NASA Student Launch Project.

The DART was one of only 21 high school teams from across the United States to qualify for the program.  NASA’s SLP challenges students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket to a mile above ground level while carrying a scientific or engineering payload.  The Academic Affairs Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. manages the SLP.

As described on the NASA education webpage, “The eight-month SLP commitment requires teams to submit a series of reports and reviews, develop a website, engage in education outreach in their local community, and provide a budget, a timeline and other requirements.  The reports and reviews are similar to NASA’s technical review process.  As in that process, SLP teams must complete a Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Flight Readiness Review and Post-Launch Assessment Review.”

The project culminated on April 19 and 20, when the team traveled to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, to launch their rocket along with other teams from across the country.

The DART rocket, dubbed “No Bull” had a successful launch, each stage of its flight performing as planned, including a dramatic main parachute deployment directly in front of the hundreds of spectators at the event. The teams were provided tours of the Marshall Flight Center, including the propulsion lab, the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, and the Apollo Saturn test stands. Other weekend activities planned for attending teams included a Rocket Fair and an awards banquet.

The students of the North Carolina Science and Mathematics contacted the 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment for support.  “When it comes to gunnery and artillery, we wanted support from the world’s best.   That’s why we called Loyalty,” said one of the NCSSM students.