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High School Experiment Selected for Space Flight

May 21, 2021

After two years of hard work, determination, and a slight delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindbergh High School students Biraj Pokhrel and Dylan Rice are preparing to send their science experiment to space as part of the global Cubes in Space program. The local students’ project is one of only 80 worldwide to be included on the 2021 Cubes in Space SR-7 mission.

Dylan and Biraj began their work in 2019 as eighth-graders, during their Design Time class at Sperreng Middle School. Four Design Time experiments were invited to submit applications for spaceflight to Cubes in Space, and last spring, Dylan and Biraj’s experiment was selected for space flight. Their experiment involves determining the impact of the space travel environment, including temperature, G-force and solar radiation, on commercial 3D printer plastic. It compares two types of 3D printer plastic and two thickness variations.

The students identified a problem that could occur during space travel if tools or parts break, and astronauts do not have what they need to make the repair. They concluded that it would be beneficial if astronauts could 3D print the parts they need for a tool on the spacecraft. The students then worked with Associate Professor Charles Rice at the University of Oklahoma to fine-tune their experiment and communicate scientifically and thoroughly.

The Cubes in Space SR-7 mission is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center- Wallops Flight Facility on Thursday, June 24. The launch will be livestreamed on NASA’s Ustream channel and on the Cubes in Space website.

Upon the rocket’s return to Earth, Dylan and Biraj’s cube will be returned to them, and they will complete their experiment by analyzing the effects of space travel on the filaments in their cube. They will share this data with the filament companies, their teachers, and fellow students. All of the materials for this experiment were funded by the Lindbergh Schools Foundation Student Leadership Fund.