by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Oct 31, 2014
Tuesday's Antares explosion destroyed 5,000lb (2,200kg) of equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars, among which was 1600 pounds (730kg) of scientific investigations including student projects from across the country.
The project was one of 18 chosen by the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, which offers students in the US and Canada the chance to design an experiment and send it to the International Space Station. 1,487 proposals in the area of microgravity were submitted to the program, and other successful plans included a study of mosquito eggs, and one on which kind of milk spoils the fastest in space.
"We were sitting down, watching it on the big-screen TV. We were all cheering because we were finally counting down, and counting down and we were watching, and cheering - and then it exploded, six seconds after takeoff, unfortunately," a teacher from British Columbia told CBC News.
She continued that the students in her class, who had submitted a project to compare crystal growth on Earth with that in microgravity, took the disappointment well: "It was just a bit of shock at first, of course, but they recovered," she said.
"And then they started laughing... there were no injuries, so that's really good."
All is not lost though, as plans have been made for the students to re-make their projects and send them on another spacecraft. Program Director for the SSEP Jeff Goldstein told Business Insider: "If we said, 'Oh, it's gone,' then we would be doing a terrible disservice," and added that an important lesson for students is "that failure is part of life."
The San Antonio Express-News reported one teacher who said "I think the adults took it harder in the room than the kids did," and added that the children immediately asked their school principal if they could try again.
The optimism was shared by a NASA statement from launch site director Bill Wrobel, who said NASA will soon "begin the process of moving forward to restore our space launch capabilities. There's no doubt in my mind that we will rebound stronger than ever."
Other experiments which were being carried by the rocket included a human health study to investigate blood flow to the brain in space, called "Drain Brain", and equipment to measure the physical and chemical properties of meteor dust.
Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
Station at NASA
Station and More at Roscosmos
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com
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