Twenty-six students from the Colonel Alvin Drew Space Camp spent a day at White Sands Missile Range recently as part of an intensive summer education program with the goal to change mindsets and encourage young adults to consider STEM-related career fields.
It seemed a good fit for space camp students, ages 12-17, to visit WSMR where the first U.S. rocket to reach outer space was launched from White Sands Proving Ground on Feb. 24, 1949, when a V-2 rocket captured from Germany toward the end of World War II was used as a booster rocket to launch a WAC Corporal sounding rocket to an altitude of 250 miles, far above the 62-mile Karman line that divides Earth's atmosphere and space.
Their tour included the Missile Park and Launch Complex-33 where the V-2 rockets were successfully tested and helped usher the U.S. into the space age.
Next on the agenda was were demonstrations by the Applied Environmental Effects Division of the Survivability, Vulnerability & Assessment Directorate, which included the opportunity to escape the New Mexico heat for a few moments in a test chamber where they saw a cup of hot water thrown into the air and turn to vapor due to the minus 2 degrees temperature.
Their visit ended with a visit to the Weather Forecast Station for a briefing and release of a weather balloon.