Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2000
KC- 135 Zero- G Flight Program Is Underway In Texas
The first week is over and students from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology KC- 135 Flight Team are five days closer to putting their experiment to the test. Week one was spent preparing their project for flight, participating in tours, listening to guest speakers, and attending physiological training, and altitude chamber testing.
The highlight of the week was when NASA Deputy Director of Space Flight, Joe Rothenberg, requested to talk to the team from South Dakota about their project and participation in the program. It was at a chance meeting over 6 months ago when Rothenberg met Dr. Richard Gowen, President of SDSM& T, and the KC- 135 program was discussed. A student team from a South Dakota university has never participated in the program, and Rothenberg wanted to fix that. So on Friday, March 10 the students from SD Tech received a VIP visit from the Deputy Director. Their project was discussed, and Rothenberg told the students how pleased he was to have them represent the School of Mines and the state of South Dakota at the KC- 135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.
The visit from Rothenberg came at the end of a very busy week for the Tech team, but also further convinced the students that this is really happening. They really are in Houston, Texas participating in a NASA zero- g flight program, and the four- member flight crew and team journalist will be taking their experiment onboard the KC- 135 for flight in zero- g in just five short days. On Wednesday and Thursday, March 15 and 16, 2000, the students will fly on the aircraft.
On Thursday of the first week the eight- member student team led by team coordinator Angie Monheim passed the Test Readiness Review ( TRR) with flying colors solidifying their experiment for flight. The TRR is a time when NASA Test Directors scrutinize each project ensuring the safety of all individuals during flight in zero- g. The last test came on Thursday evening when the flight crew, alternate flyers, and team journalist went through altitude chamber testing. Now at the end of week one all training is complete, and waiting for flight day begins. Tuesday, March 14 the team will load their experiment onboard the aircraft, and will arrive Wednesday morning at 7: 00 am to begin pre- flight briefings.
Pictures of all activities for pre- flight, and flight- day activities will be available on- line at http:// zerog. jsc. nasa. gov; this includes pictures of check- in, test readiness review, physiological training, altitude chamber testing, and in- fight photos. To access the pictures you must know the username and password. Username = guest, and Password = guest. Photos will be available within 3- 4 days of each activity with the exception of the flight day photos which will be accessible within 24 hours. Photos taken by the team journalist will also be available on- line beginning Monday, March 13 at http:// www. sdsmt/ edu/ space/ KC- 135ALinks. htm. All photos may be used for publication.
In addition to photos, on Thursday, March 16, between 3: 00 - 5: 00 pm, two students who are part of the SD Tech Flight Team will be interviewed by NASA officials. NASA will provide a live downlink to Rapid City media of the interview including footage from their activity in flight. A producer from the Johnson Space Center news room will be contacting local media to provide details.
SD Tech’s KC- 135 team members include: flight crew, Alan Gertonson, Rapid City, Victoria Olson, Rapid City, Jed Brich, Oglalla, NE, and Louie Arguello, Rapid City; ground crew members are Lori Glover, Sturgis, Keith Flanegan, Florence, John Keefner, Black Hawk, and Jed Padilla, Cheyenne, WY. The team coordinator is graduate student Angie Monheim, Rapid City.
For any questions regarding SD Tech’s participation in the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program, contact Kari at kari. larese@ sdsmt. edu, or at her hotel in Houston at 281.554.9291 ext 204.
( I: univrel/ pressrel/ 0300 KC- 135 week one fxd rc)
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