Ping Pong Balls in Space
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
"America's OTHER Space Program," as it likes to be known, uses it West
Texas Space Port in Fort Stockton to launch ping pong ball payloads
to the edge of space. Supported by big industry and mom & pop operations,
JPA offers the spaceflight service free of charge to school kids in
order to promote aerospace exploration and science. A variety of helium-filled
balloons and sounding rockets have carried as many as 300 ping pong
ball microexperiments in a single PongSat mission. The JPA team, consisting
of about 50 volunteers, has been at it for over 20 years. "Shaking up
old notions is core to what we're all about. That's how we fly paper
rockets to Mach three or space flights for thousands instead of billions
of dollars," says founder John Powell.