I am seeking help to raise funds to pay for materials and the flight services fee for microgravity data collection aboard the ZERO-G plane, lovingly nicknamed the G-FORCE ONE. In order to meet multiple converging timelines, I need to fundraise $25,000 by Friday, October 4th, 2019 to have the opportunity to conduct my research aboard the ZERO-G Weightless Lab in November. ZERO-G has given me a preliminary “Go” with my experimental design.
Your donation will help me conduct meaningful research in microgravity, and get me one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming the first person on Mars. To show my appreciation, I’ll write the names of everyone who donates on my test apparatus and then share pictures from microgravity.
To continue the growth of knowledge in the scientific community and continue inspiring younger generations, I commit to share the information I learn from my time in microgravity with STEAM workshops that i lead for middle school girls. I will also spread my research and knowledge through various science fairs. I am a strong believer in science fairs because they are a great source of knowledge and they inspire people to do what they love.
STEM and STEAM advocacy is a big part of my life. I take the research, knowledge, and experiences that I gain from independent research projects, robotics and computer science endeavors and share them through conferences for middle school girls. I discovered that I love to share my excitement for STEAM when I presented my science fair project, Rockets and Nozzles and Thrust, OH MY! at the 2016 BROADCOM MASTERS Science and Engineering Project Showcase in Washington, DC, which was open to the public, and visited by hundreds of children and adults. I was hooked after I led a day-long workshop at the 2017 World Science Festival in New York, NY, where I used Alka Seltzer rockets to introduce thousands of kids and their parents to the awesomeness of rockets.
Presenting at the 2017 World Science Festival in NYC to thousands of kids and their parents.
Since then I’ve led workshops at the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Girls + Science + Math = Success regional conferences in Manassas, VA. As well as the 2018 and 2019 Pathways to Your Future STEAM conference at Penn State York, York, PA. Across those events I was fortunate to teach all-day workshops for over 125 middle school girls from across Prince William County, VA, central Pennsylvania, and Maryland and introduce them to principles of rockets and physics using water bottle rockets and the kinematic equations. I was privileged to present keynote addresses at the 2019 Pathways to Your Future at Penn State York and at the 2017 and 2019 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Days at Benton Middle School in Manassas, VA. It was an honor and humbling to motivate hundreds of girls about STEAM. Most recently I was a workshop leader at the 2019 Full Steam Ahead Conference in Richmond, VA at which I presented my water bottle rocket workshop, Aim for Mars, to over 40 middle school girls of all economic environments. In 2017, I was featured on the TODAY Show in a "Girls Changing the World" segment designed to encourage girls to pursue their passions in non-traditional fields. This experience was humbling and fulfilling in that I was given an opportunity and the responsibility to share my STEM experiences and inspire girls of all ages, across the country, to follow their dreams (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9m0E5Y7Of8).
Keynote speaker at the 2017 Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Benton Middle School in Manassas, VA.
The purpose of my science fair experiment is to study fuel tank slosh management to investigate the effects of modified surface energies inside fuel tanks in microgravity. This experiment is important to our space program as current mitigations add complexity and cost tens of millions of dollars in additional mission costs. Slosh is the unwanted movement of fluid in a tank due to forces from acceleration. Slosh in microgravity is the cause of many problems, including spacecraft jitter and reduced fuel tank gauge accuracy at low fill levels. Spacecraft jitter can lead to difficulty in positioning, navigation and timing. Spacecraft jitter is also not good for sensitive experiments, so minimizing jitter will maximize experiment time. Reduced fuel tank gauge accuracy requires additional propellant to mitigate against gauging errors. At current prices of over $10,000 per lbs of launch mass, the additional propellant results annually in tens of millions of dollars in additional mission costs across the industry. There are many methods used to manage slosh -- ullage rockets to settle the fuel around the sump prior to firing the rockets, PMDs, and carrying extra fuel -- all of which add extra weight and mission complexity. My experiment proposes a new slosh management technique using custom surface energy profiles. In order to conduct the experiment, I need microgravity conditions, and a ZERO-G flight is the way to accomplish microgravity on Earth. A ZERO-G flight costs approximately $20,000. In order to meet science fair timelines, I need to fly aboard the ZERO-G Weightless Lab in November. The deadline for me to sign the contract and remit funds is September 20th, 2019.
Here is how I plan to utilize the $25,000 funding. The first $5000 will go towards materials and transportation to and from the ZERO-G Research Weighless Lab take-off location. The remaining $20,000 pays for my flight with the ZERO-G Research Program. The ZERO-G Research Program is available for qualifying experiments from universities, corporations, government and individuals seeking to conduct serious investigations in Martian, Lunar, zero and hyper gravity environments. My experimental design has passed an initial review by ZERO-G and a peer review by NASA Goddard.
Specifically, the $20,000 will go towards:
• ZERO-G Research staff assistance for planning, engineering, and review phases
• FAA Equipment review and approval
• Test Readiness Review – Day 1
• A Weightless Flight with a minimum of 25 parabolas
• Personal flight suit, flight bag, and in-flight socks
• Storage for take-off and landing: 15” L x 16” W x 21.5” H (25 lbs per section)
• A portion of a 10’ L x 10’ W in-flight test area
• In-flight coach assistance
• HD video of flight
I offer some of my accomplishments to reassure you that your donations will be put to good use to improve the state-of-the-art in rocket science and even more importantly, pay it forward in continuing my mission in service of inspiring others. I have been successful at independent research and understand the process. I’ve won the grand prize at the regional level during my first science fair as a fourth grader. As a seventh grader, I won the grand prize at the regional level and then won the Broadcom MASTERS Samueli Foundation prize at the national level with my experiment Rockets and Nozzles and Thrust, OH MY! The next year I conducted a continuation project, All Choked Up! and won the Best of Symposium at the Virginia Junior Academy of Science 2017 Research Symposium. In 2018, I was inducted as a lifetime fellow to the American Junior Academy of Science.
Presenting Rockets and Nozzles and Thrust, OH MY! At the Broadcom MASTERS Science and Engineering Showcase in Washington, DC, 2016.
Presenting Rocket nozzle research at the American Junior Academy of Science in Austin, TX, 2018
To express my deep gratitude for your donations, I’ll take all of you into zero gravity with me! I am going to write the names of everyone who donates on my test apparatus which I will be taking with me to zero gravity. Then, I will publish the pictures right here. And, you have my commitment that I will share what I learn and incorporate my experience into my future STEAM workshops to continue to encourage young women to explore STEAM opportunities.
- Paul Whitebread
- Fred Vlchek
- Melissa Palmer
- Jennifer Runals
- Ed Grecco
Organizer and beneficiary
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