To the Skies and Beyond

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April 2015:  A group of Centaurus Engineering students head to the LBJ Space Center in Houston Texas.  Behind them lays a small unknown town in the middle of Colorado, and in front of them lays a pad on which dreams are launched to heaven.

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LBJ Space Center has been active in the study of aerospace since the 1960’s.  Today it will host bright students from CHS.  It’s a field trip unlike any other.

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The so called “Vomit Comet.”  It is a plane that allows people to feel the 0G environment of space on Earth.  Soon the Centaurus Engineering team would be allowed to ride it as it makes its ascent and its famous descent.

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The students of the engineering program were taken around the grounds of LBJ and shown some of the most essential parts of NASA’s work.  The employees at LBJ were gracious enough to provide the students with such an in-depth tour.

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Many students never get the privilege of exploring LBJ Station in depth, but these few select members of CHS got the opportunity of a life time.  

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As the trip moves on, the time to mount to the sky draws nigh.  The vomit comet waits peacefully for its passengers.  

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Jack Carvalho smiles enthusiastically as slowly the plane rises.  Soon he will experience life at 0Gs and he can test the equipment he’s been working on with his team for over a year.

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Engineering teacher Brian Thomas waits eagerly for the gravity to take its sudden drop.  To demonstrate the power of a slight change in gravity, Thomas wields a simple slinky.  

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As gravity becomes lax and makes its slow fade into being 0, the slink is released into the air.  It free floats peacefully like a shining star.  It’ll float, then Thomas will find that he too is no longer tethered to the floor by the force that has loomed over him his entire life.  

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Within the bowels of the white dragons that tears downward through the sky to replicate 0Gs, the CHS students begin to check their equipment.

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In order to monitor and control their devices, the students must wedge their hands into a tank through rubber pads.

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Brian Thomas struggles to monitor the experiment in the 0G environment.  In order to avoid floating around and hitting things and other people, riders of the comet cling to metal rails.

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Abby Schmid lets her hair float freely while in the thundering white plane’s 0G hull.  She’s put so many hours into the making of her project, and her work has payed off with the opportunity of a life time.

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The student’s project lays inside a case of glass to protect it.  Inside the glass the project whirs to a mechanical beat.  The students float nearby with hopeful eyes; they have waited so long for this moment of truth.

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Even though the project is for academic purposes, who can’t help but laugh in such a strange environment?

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Their mission complete, but their goal far from reached, the Centaurus Engineering team heads back home.  Hopefully, they will soon be ready to send their work to space.

(Photo credits to Centaurus engineering filmmakers)

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