Final frontier for St Nessan’s students

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UL Space Experiment Limk 010FOUR Limerick teenagers will boldly go where no Irish teenager has gone before when they launch a science experiment to be conducted in space.

After winning ‘The Only Way is Up’ competition, Transition year students at St Nessan’s Community College, Jamie O’Connell, Jonathan Roche, Kevin Hanley and Jason Hannan, will have their science project flown to, and carried out, on the International Space Station.

The winning project will investigate the effects that microgravity has on the solidification of reinforced concrete and will spend 30 days orbiting the Earth. The microgravity experiment is scheduled to blast off on the Orbital Sciences Orb-2 mission to the ISS from NASA Wallops this coming May. The space experiment will be returned to the students post spaceflight and will allow them to directly compare the results to a ground controlled experiment.
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‘The Only Way is Up’ is funded by Science Foundation Ireland Discover Science and Engineering, the Irish Centre for Composites Research and the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Limerick. The competition was co-ordinated by Dr Norah Patten, Communications and Outreach manager for the Irish Centre for Composites Research at UL.

“Space provides an ideal platform to foster interest and enthusiasm in young minds in Ireland. This project has allowed Irish students the opportunity to develop an actual space experiment and for the first time launch it to the space station,” said Dr Patten.

“This project has opened space up to Irish students; it has allowed them an opportunity to develop and create real space research and will hopefully encourage more young students in Ireland toward this fascinating area,” she added.

A YouTube channel ‘Ireland’s first secondary school experiment in space’ has been created to allow the public follow this project as it evolves.