Colorado kids launched into the record books recently as they watched a rocket that they had helped build take off into space. At 50 feet tall, their rocket — nicknamed Future Heavy — was released on July 24, breaking the record for the world's largest, high-powered sport rocket.
The kids were part of the Student Rocket Launch program — an initiative sponsored by United Launch Alliance (ULA), Ball Aerospace and the Space Foundation. The objective of the launch was to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM. Altogether, 68 interns and 22 mentors from ULA, 37 interns and 19 mentors from Ball, and 15 teams of K-12 students worked together to build the rocket and its payloads.
"The payloads include a kindergarten experiment in solar physics as well as an approximation of the Mars Curiosity rover's entry, descent, and landing when it landed on Mars," ULA said in a statement.
The 1,200-pound Future Heavy — defined as a sport rocket because it's built for recreational rather than professional purposes — was launched at Fort Carson Army Post in Colorado.