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East Cooper CAS students earn special opportunity with NASA

East Cooper CAS NASA TeamStudents from East Cooper Center for Advanced Studies are in the process of sending a school project to space. They recently learned their entry in the inaugural NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) TechRise Student Challenge was one of 57 proposals selected. This team of potential scientists and engineers will now have the opportunity to create an experiment that can operate and collect data from the edge of space aboard a Blue Origin suborbital rocket in 2023. 

"Our team has done a tremendous job of designing their experiment," said Chris Sjolander, East Cooper CAS Engineering teacher and NASA TechRise Facilitator. "The entire effort has been student-led and managed. Our students are creating the future of safe space travel right here in Mount Pleasant."

The team at the East Cooper CAS will study a surface catheter/blood suction device the students are designing. Each student in this group is receiving $1,500 to build their experiments and a NASA-funded spot to test them on the Blue Origin suborbital rocket flight in early 2023. The team also will receive a suite of materials for preparing their payloads, access to flight simulator software, and technical support from experts.

Administered by Future Engineers, the NASA TechRise Student Challenge aims to inspire students to seek a deeper understanding of Earth's atmosphere, space exploration, coding, and electronics, as well as an appreciation of the importance of test data. Nearly 600 teams applied, representing 5,000 students in grades 6 through 12 from across the country.

"At NASA, we educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "The TechRise Student Challenge is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience designing, building, and launching experiments on suborbital vehicles. I'm so impressed we received hundreds of entries from across the country, and I want to congratulate the winning teams. I can't wait to see these incredible experiments come to life!"

For more information about the winning team from East Cooper CAS, contact Principal Jeff Blankenship at (843) 856-5800. For more about NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge, visit