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Alexandria-Area Students Testing Rocket Bound for Space

Project Caelus team members are students at Thomas Jefferson High School (NOTE: Photo taken pre-COVID masks and social distancing regulations. Courtesy photo)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – A group of students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology have more than graduation on the mind. The members of Project Caelus have space in sight. Formed in 2018, Project Caelus plans to be the first team to launch a liquid-fueled rocket 100 kilometers into space. The launch is expected to take place in the spring of 2023.

Soon the team will conduct a cold-flow test of the engine in a live stream on Facebook. No date has been announced as of this writing. The test, using a nonreactive liquid like water, tests the safety and integrity of engine parts. A successful test indicates that the engine can handle the pressure of a real firing.

A conceptual image of the Project Caelus rocket. (Photo: Project Caelus)

“We hope this experience will be as educational and exciting for those who join as it is for us. A successful test will pave the way for much grander events in the future, such as a hot fire or a launch,” said the project’s founder and Thomas Jefferson High School senior Jason Chen. “Three years of trial and error, six redesigns, hundreds of hours on call with NASA and college professors, and countless setbacks have led to this test, and I can’t imagine it’d be possible without such a passionate and resilient team.”

The event will be hosted by members of the Project Caelus outreach team, who will explain the technical aspects of the test and its different stages.

Check the Project Caelus Facebook page for more information, including an announcement of the test date.

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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