Gadsden State experiment on rocket that exploded - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Gadsden State experiment on rocket that exploded

This is the experiment made by Gadsden State students that was aboard the rocket that exploded on Tuesday. Source: Clare Huddleston/WBRC This is the experiment made by Gadsden State students that was aboard the rocket that exploded on Tuesday. Source: Clare Huddleston/WBRC
Student leader Corey Edwards and Gadsden State electronic engineering professor Audrey Webb. Student leader Corey Edwards and Gadsden State electronic engineering professor Audrey Webb.
The Antares Rocket exploded six seconds after taking off in Virginia. Source: NASA The Antares Rocket exploded six seconds after taking off in Virginia. Source: NASA
The unmanned rocket that exploded just after taking off from a launch site in Virginia was carrying equipment, supplies, food and other materials, including an experiment created by Gadsden State students.

The rocket exploded six seconds after it launched, taking with it two years of hard work by the Gadsden State team. No one was hurt in the explosion, but now the $2 million accident is the focus of engineers and scientists who want to find out what happened.

Gadsden State professor Audrey Webb and 26-year-old student team leader Corey Edwards traveled to Wallops Island, Virginia to watch the rocket launch.

Webb, an electric engineering professor, and Edwards said they're obviously disappointed about watching the experiment literally go up in flames, but they're not going to let this deter them from trying again.

The project was supposed to test organic solvents in water, which would help with long term space flights. Webb said it would also help scientists in the long run know if life could be sustainable on Mars.

Webb says they started this project two years ago and tested it in Houston last year. It was scheduled to be on the international space station for three months recording data.

Webb said the liftoff and explosion happened so fast and it was surreal.

“At first we just couldn't believe what had just happened because everything was going so well and then we saw this big explosion we knew wasn't supposed to happen, so we were just in shock just staring at it,” Webb said.

Webb says after the explosion, NASA hurried everyone onto buses and got them out of there.

She says they're going to visit Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to get their minds off of what happened.

Webb and Timothy Green, Dean of Gadsden State's Technical Education program, they plan to rebuild the project. She says it will take a while to get all the parts in, but once they do that it won't take too long to rebuild.

They are waiting to hear from NASA about when the next launch will be scheduled.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved. 

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