MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Trinity Christian School still held its “Artemis I launch party” starting at 8:33 a.m. on Aug. 27, which is when the rocket was supposed to launch.

NASA planned to launch Artemis I, but the launch was scrubbed until Sept. 2 due to engine issues. This is the first mission in a series of missions to get the United States back to the moon, and eventually to Mars.

Even though the launching did not happen, there were still activity stations set up around the gymnasium and commons area for students to enjoy in a day of learning about the rocket launching.

Marcus Fisher, the computer science teacher, and a NASA engineer at Goddard Space Flight Center, mentioned why the school wanted to have a launching party. He said, “this is going to be their future, uh, and I know from the state of West Virginia’s perspective, we are lacking in stem related jobs, and careers. And so, whatever we can do at this, you know, the high school level, middle school level, to get these kids in those jobs, that’s what this is here for.”

Students were to watch the launch and learn more information about the mission. One of the teacher’s father was actually at the launch site and answering questions for the students over a video call. The teachers’ main goal were to get the students inspired with NASA’s mission, since it will be part of their future.

There were a variety of stations set up for students in which they were:

  • Astronaut gloves and Lego – to show students that they have to keep the end user in mind. Tools have to be made to make it easier for astronauts to use, because it is difficult to build Lego with equipment on, and that is what the activity was trying to show.
  • Building parachutes – students assembled parachutes and dropped them from the ceiling to figure out the rate of dissent depending on age, students could graph it and figure out how weight can effect the dissent rate.
  • Drones – students learned how to fly drones through a computer console, just like astronauts may have to. The object was to land it in certain areas, pick up items, or fly it in certain directions.
  • Card making – there was a card making stations for students to make 3D cards for senior citizen centers “from space.”

West Virginia University (WVU) was represented at the school. Dr. Jason Gross from the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, volunteered his time in talking to the students about how they can get engaged in STEM related fields so that the state of West Virginia can fulfill all of its needs, but also push the nation forward.

A lady from Code WV was also at the school to help teach coding exercises to the students. She even revealed that there will be a device like “Alexa” that will be on the Artemis I rocket to help astronauts communicate with those back on Earth.

Although the launch was scrubbed, the school continued on with the activities because they wanted to at least reach one kid. Fisher explained that it is hard to teach the “intuit moment,” but watching it come across the youth’s faces when discovering something, is something “awesome” that you can not buy.

Fisher knows that it is a bit hard to have the youth of these ages thinking about their futures, when they are only worried about the current moment. However, he wants to continue planting seeds in hopes that one day, some of these students will go on to study these advanced fields and maybe work at one of the big companies that West Virginia has.

The computer science teacher would have liked to see more schools across the state having launch parties. He brought up a great idea of trying to challenge schools to have these launch parties for the next launching, and maybe they could connect with all the schools online, during the launch.

The next launch window will be Sept. 2, in which the school might set up the launch for students to watch in each classroom.

Trinity Christian School would like to thank those from WVU who helped in teaching the students in their areas of expertise. They would also like to thank the teachers for adapting to a different schedule for the day, to help make it more fun and knowledgeable for the students.