Inspiring the Next Generation of Astronauts
The Illinois Space Society strives to give back to the community as often as possible. Our society’s largest engineering outreach day is Illinois Space Day, held usually every spring, but has been moved to the fall for 2016. For Illinois Space Day we invite a variety of elementary and middle school students to come and visit campus, and experience space-related exhibits. Some of these include:
What do we present?
Space Shuttle Tile and Liquid Nitrogen
This exhibit demonstrates space shuttle tile and the physics and challenges of re-entry heating, as well as extreme cooling with liquid nitrogen. Demos include freezing and smashing a flower and a penny, observing the contraction of a frozen balloon, and eating frozen marshmallows.
Hybrid Rocket Engine
This exhibit demonstrates the basic principles of a combustion rocket engine. Taking the proper safety precautions, the ISS team presents this exhibit annually at the College of Engineering's Engineering Open House (EOH) an at our Illinois Space Day (ISD).
This exhibit demonstrates the physics behind gravitational orbits and allow students to get hands-on understanding by attempting to place their “satellite” (a marble) in orbit with various marbles all put into action at the same time. This is a very interactive activity for students.
ISS Technical Projects
The society exhibits our own projects in hopes to inspire younger generations to pursue careers in aerospace. By doing so, they can become involved in projects such as the ones we show them. Some of the projects include our rocketry projects, our EVA tool project, and our hybrid engine project.
Who do we inspire?
Our Educational Outreach Initiatives
Illinois Space Day
This past November, the Illinois Space Society held their largest educational outreach event ever. The society organizes Illinois Space Day yearly, however, this year the event had a total attendance of around 200 people of different ages. Throughout this event, participants were able to learn about the different projects that the society and other Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering organizations. Erick Kroeker, a previous UIUC Aerospace Alumn was the keynote speaker. Kroeker, a previous Canadian Astronaut Candidate, presented students the process of how to become an astronaut. Afterwards, participants took part in an egg drop competition, putting their engineering skills to the test.
Engineering Open House
Every year, the Illinois Space Society participates in the Illinois College of Engineering’s Engineering Open House. Every year in mid-March, over one thousand students K-12 and parents come to campus and get to tour the exhibits from the different student organizations within the college. The Illinois Space Society has three main exhibits: cold fire of the EOH hybrid engine, liquid nitrogen and space shuttle tile demonstrations, and finally the technical projects exhibit. The latter exhibit displays all of the current technical projects the society is working on as well as an orbital simulator. The society has won best exhibit for the Hybrid Rocket Engine two years in a row!
The Illinois Space Society organizes a workshop for a local Boy Scout troop every semester. This workshop is done to help the Boy Scouts obtain their Space Exploration Merit Badge. This workshop focuses on mainly rocketry and starts off with a space history lesson. The society then gave an overview on rocketry: the basic components, how rockets work, etc. The students are then able to seen the application of the lesson to two technical rocket projects. Finally, the students are given the opportunity to build their own model rockets and launch them. This workshop includes 10-15 students and the society has been organizing a workshop yearly.