Schools to have 'rocket-in-a-suitcase' program

 

Centenary State High School students will be among the first to design, build and test-run their own hybrid rocket launch motors next year thanks to a $2 million schools Rocket in a Suitcase program.

One of the world's largest space companies is investing in the

Science of Rockets STEM program in partnership with Darra-based engineering

design and manufacturing company PFi and 12 Queensland schools will be the first to try it out.

The hi-tech suitcase-sized launch motors offer a working model aimed at encouraging students to design, make and simulate testing their own hybrid rocket motors.

The students will learn about rocket trajectory, fuel usage, velocity, thrust, data analysis and propulsion.

"The schools in the program will receive the completed unit to use in lessons and all the drawings and specifications to make their own with the aim of stimulating their interest in a future in science and engineering," Mr Dunwoodie said.

State Development and Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said American global aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman would partner with PFi to inspire students from all over Queensland to pursue careers in the emerging space industry.

Mr Dunwoodie said there was potential to extend the homegrown program worldwide with 12 units to be made for Queensland schools next year, followed by 50 for other schools by 2021.

Mr Dunwoodie said the contract would mean an immediate increase in jobs at his Darra engineering works.

Mr Dick said the world first Science of Rockets STEM program by PFi was testrun at Ormeau Woods State High School this year.

Students and teachers from Sheldon College take a look at the rocket-in a suitcase equipment.
Students and teachers from Sheldon College take a look at the rocket-in a suitcase equipment.

"The course will be rolled out to ten Queensland secondary schools in Term One 2020, with

more than 50 state secondary schools joining the program ready for the start of the school

year in 2021."

Mr Dick said the "Rocket in a Suitcase" was the first commercially developed rocket motor in Australia to be exported.

The rocket motor is the size of a carry-on suitcase and will be used to engage with students directly on skills the space industry is looking for, and the career paths on offer.

"Many of the jobs of the future will require science, technology, engineering and maths

(STEM), and the kinds of 'hands on' experience provided by this program helps to bring

these subjects alive by turning theory into practice.

"We want students to know that if you study science, you can build a rocket and build a

career in the space industry.

"The space industry in Queensland already contributes 2000 full-time positions and

generates $760 million per year to the state's economy," he said.

"Our Government has identified the space industry as an industry of the future, with the

capacity to employ three times as many people and generate $6 billion for the Queensland

economy by 2036.

"We commissioned the Deloitte Access Economics report on Queensland's space

industry capabilities and potential economic growth and accepted all 15 recommendations

from the parliamentary inquiry into job creation opportunities arising from the space industry.

"We are now finalising the Queensland Space Strategy and working to partner with the

Australian Space Agency to make Queensland the home of the Australian space sector."

Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Chris Deeble said the company could see enormous potential for the program for schools in Queensland, around

Australia and internationally.

Sheldon College students Zoe Moran, Taige Hooper, (front row) Lilly Montgomery, Luke Strader and Tayla McFarlane with teacher Dr David Hughes exploring the rocket-in-a-suitcase.
Sheldon College students Zoe Moran, Taige Hooper, (front row) Lilly Montgomery, Luke Strader and Tayla McFarlane with teacher Dr David Hughes exploring the rocket-in-a-suitcase.

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government last year launched the Queensland Aerospace

10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

"Queensland has all the right drivers for a booming space economy," he said.

Schools getting ready for take off in Term One, 2020 include:

 Ferny Grove State High School

 Ormeau Woods State High School

 Sheldon College

 Toowoomba Grammar School

 Warwick State High School

 Whitsunday Anglican School

 West Moreton Anglican College

 Centenary State High School

 Ipswich State High School

 Kelvin Grove State College


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