NASA's Summer of Innovation Educational Launch (SL-5)


May 20, 2011

Mission Objective
On board SpaceLoft-5 (SL-5) were 27 experiments conducted by over 800 students from New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. The 3rd annual student launch program was sponsored by NASA’s Summer of Innovation contract awarded to the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium in 2010. SL-5 also served as a memorial for 20 beloved individuals and over 45,000 Name A Star customers for Celestis. The Department of Defense successfully operated the "ORS Office Enabler Test Flight" as a secondary payload customer.

SL-5 lifted off the launch pad on May 20, 2011 at 7:21 AM MDT. Its path was visible in the clear sky for miles as it set a new Spaceport America altitude record of 73.5 miles. It was a perfect mission from liftoff to touchdown. The payload was immediately retrieved from White Sands Missile Range, then loaded onto a Army helicopter and flown back to Spaceport America.

After touch down the vehicle was offloaded from the helicopter and taken to the student payload processing area where high school students participated in removing the payloads. Once the experiments were unloaded, students were able to immediately open up their Payload Transportation System (PTS) containers and download their data and evaluate their experiments on site.

"The launch and recovery was picture perfect …all systems functioned beautifully”, said Jerry Larson, President of UP Aerospace. Larson went on to say "It was amazing to see the effect that the New Mexico Space Grant program is having on so many students. I think 800 rocket scientists were created today, and we are so proud to be apart of this great educational event."

UP Aerospace SpaceLoft-5

Above Photo: UP Aerospace President Jerry Larson (right) and Department of Defense representative Jason Armstrong (Left) inspect the SpaceLoft payload section on White Sands Missile Range shortly after touch down on May 20, 2011. (Image courtesy: UP Aerospace Inc)