Limerick students see experiment blast off to ISS

Pictured: Kevin Hanley, Jonathon Roche, Jason Hannon and Jamie O'Connell, L-R St Nessans Community College, Limerick

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6 May 2014 | 0

Four Limerick Transition Year students have made the trek to Nasa’s Wallops Island base to see their award-winning experiment blast off to the International Space Station (ISS).

Jason Hannan, Kevin Hanley, Jamie O’Connell and Jonathan Roche from St. Nessan’s Community College won the Only Way is Up competition run by ICOMP (Irish Centre for Composites Research) at the University of Limerick to have an experiment carried out on the ISS.

Their winning entry expands on research carried out by Portland Cement in 1991 to determine how man-made products are sustainable in space and, in this instance, to determine if reinforced concrete can be used as a building material.

The micro-sized, reinforced concrete experiment was flown from Shannon to the Nasa centre eight weeks ago to undergo pre-flight trials and will spend 30 days in orbit. It will then be returned to the students, who will compare the impact microgravity had on the concrete with the results of a control experiment conducted at their school.

Competition manager Dr Norah Patten said: “This project has allowed Irish students the opportunity to develop an actual space experiment and for the first time launch it to the space station… The creativity and thought process from the students was incredible – they did a great job and should be very proud. This project has opened space up to Irish students; it has allowed them an opportunity to develop and create real space research and will hopefully encourage more young students in Ireland toward this fascinating area.”

A YouTube channel, Ireland’s First Secondary School Experiment in Space, has been created to allow the public follow this project as it evolves, while the four student themselves can be followed on twitter at @SpaceCowboysIRE and on their blog spacecowboybuilders.blogspot.ie.

TechCentral Reporters

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