In 1999, Weare science teacher Mark Kibler organized a Lego Robotics Team that has slowly evolved into a remarkable group of students who are now the Weare Project ARLISS. ARLISS stands for A Rocket Launch for International Student Satellites, and is a collaborative effort matching motivated students with faculty at Stanford University Space Systems Development Program in Northern California.
This September Mr. Kibler will accompany these 5 team members to launch their generation IV rocket in the Nevada desert. Andrew Mahn, the Team Captain, is a sophomore Sant Bani Academy, Sean Doherty is a sophomore at John Stark Regional High School, Dylan Landry, Justin Abbott, and Mike Prindiville are all freshmen at John Stark.
“The ARLISS launch is the next step beyond the NASA Student Launch
Initiative (SLI) program we did two and three years ago,” says Kibler. “We had to qualify in the top 16 at the TARC (Team America Rocketry Challenge) National Finals before we were allowed to submit a project proposal to participate in SLI. Only the top 8 teams' proposals were accepted.”
Each student team builds a rocket for launch that must include a miniaturized payload designed to fit inside a soft drink can. The NH Team is sensitive to both the data they hope to gather, and to the size of the device. “If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t launch and you don’t get your data at all,” says Mahn. Abbot continues, “ It’s great if it works, but we need to find the rocket when it lands! All the data is saved to the flash drive.” Mahn adds, “We are measuring CO2 in the atmosphere within one mile of the ground.” The students will graph and analyze the data and give a professional-level presentation immediately the day after the launch.
Kipler considers himself a mentor, “I guide the process.” Since 1999, he’s guided over 45 students through his rocketry team projects, each year achieving greater success. When asked what the Team would do next if they win this year, Mahn is optimistic, “It seems like every time we complete a project, some other door opens!”