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Perhaps the first person to walk on Mars will have gotten their start flying a ping pong ball.
SACRAMENTO, CA, April 09, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Their experiments are called PongSats for Ping Pong Ball Satellite. All the experiments fit inside ping pong balls. Students from all over the world send their PongSats to JP Aerospace, an all-volunteer space program in Rancho Cordova, California. After the landing the PongSats are returned to their creators along with data from the flight and a DVD with the on board video.
JP Aerospace has flown over 14,000 PongSat student experiments. That's more education payloads than all the rest of the world's space programs combined.
The program is completely free. The program is paid for through Kickstarter crowd sourcing website. Crowd sourcing sites such as Kickstarter have become a real driver for the small space race movement. Projects such as new space suits and satellites are getting a funding boost from these social media based mass efforts.
The program is ramping up to fly two thousand more PongSats this September. Anyone can fly. To sign up go to the JP Aerospace website at:
The JPA team launch the PongSats from the Black Rock desert in Nevada. The vehicles that carry's them are made of foam and carbon fiber. Four separate telemetry links track the balloon during flight. At the end of the mission the vehicle, with its PongSats, returns to Earth by parachute.
"I'm always completely floored by the things kids put in their PongSats," says John Powell, President of JP Aerospace "Projects have ranged from plant seeds to GPS's and video cameras all inside ping pong balls."
PongSats have created a real avalanche of interest in space among students. Perhaps the first person to walk on Mars will have gotten their start flying a ping pong ball.
JP Aerospace, "America's OTHER Space Program" is an all-volunteer DIY space research group. They fly balloons, rockets, high altitude airships and thousands of ping pong balls.
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