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Lessons Learned by the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University Following Its First Summer Camp for High School Students

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Aerospace Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.861.1 - 23.861.16



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Paper Authors


David B Kanipe Texas A&M University

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A native Texan, David Kanipe was born in Corpus Christi and attended Texas A&M University beginning in September 1966. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in May 1970, followed by a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in August 1971. He suspended work on a Ph.D. to accept a position with NASA at the what was then called the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston in November 1972. After holding successively responsible positions, he was selected as chief of the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division in the Engineering Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in January 2001 and served in that position until retirement on December 31, 2010.
A month after his arrival at NASA, the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, was launched. Obviously, that was exciting, but in terms of his career, the commencement of the Space Shuttle Program in November 1972 was to have far more impact. As a result, Kanipe was able to begin his career working on what he says was the most interesting and exciting project he could possibly imagine: the Space Shuttle.
Kanipe moved into management in May 1990 when he became the Deputy Branch Chief of the Aerodynamics Branch in the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division. In March 1996 he was appointed chief of the GN&C Analysis and Design Branch. Subsequently, he became the deputy chief of the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division in December 1998 and was selected as Chief of the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division in the Engineering Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in January 2001.
Kanipe retired from NASA at the end of 2010 after more than 38 years of service in the US Space Program. His career spanned numerous projects and programs, including both crewed and robotic spacecraft. Kanipe was also an enthusiastic promoter of collaborations between universities and NASA. After retiring from NASA, the Head of the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University asked him to come to A&M and teach a Senior Capstone Design course focused on Spacecraft Design. He began his second year of teaching at Texas A&M in August 2012.

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Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Dr. Kristi J. Shryock is the assistant department head for Undergraduate Programs and Outreach in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. She is also a senior lecturer in the Department. She received her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering with a research focus on engineering education. She works to improve the undergraduate engineering experience through evaluating preparation in mathematics and physics, incorporating experiential education in the classroom, and introducing multidisciplinary design.

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Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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High School Students Learn the Basics of Rocket Science In a University Summer CampMost engineering summer programs for high school students administered at the college-levelhave the common purposes of exciting high school students about engineering and serving as ameans to attract talented students into their program. Many times, the activities are geared morefor fun than educational purposes, and the appropriate age level is not always considered.Therefore, the paper intends to address two primary questions the authors considered indesigning this camp: - What is the most appropriate method of exciting high school students in an engineering summer camp? - How do you provide interesting and instructive demonstrations of basic aerospace concepts related to aerospace engineering at the high school level?To address these questions, the Department at Institution introduced a week-long summerprogram teaching high school juniors and seniors the basics of rocket science. The intent of thecamp was to provide a mixture of hands-on projects reinforced by a minimum level of basicphysics instruction coupled with engaging and challenging demonstrations of basic fundamentallaws. It was important to instruct and motivate the students, but those goals must be balancedwith an element of fun.This paper will provide a framework for teaching the basics of rocket science for high schoolstudents during a week-long program. While this is not a new idea, the authors will discuss whythe current lessons were selected, how the project builds moved from paper to a powered flyingmodel, how students were selected, what the role of social media was in the camp, and whatresults were achieved during the first implementation. Lessons learned and plans for futureiterations will also be discussed. Aerospace engineering departments with current high schoolsummer programs focusing on rocket design and those looking to start their own program willdiscover practical, effective methods in this paper that can be adapted to their circumstances. Inaddition, high school programs seeking to use rocket launches to teach basic physical laws willalso find useful project ideas and strategies.

Kanipe, D. B., & Shryock, K. J., & Richard, J. C. (2013, June), Lessons Learned by the Aerospace Engineering Department at Texas A&M University Following Its First Summer Camp for High School Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19875

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