ISS: Project Whitworth Club launches with celebration


Concentrating, senior Carissa Sage prepares the experiment for transport to the ISS.

West Shore’s International Space Station: Project Whitworth club is hosting a launch party Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the auditorium. The party is being held in honor of Coach Jason Whitworth and the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association’s Brevard Support Group.

“We’re so excited to be able to honor Mr. Whitworth like this,” science teacher Amy McCormick said. “I can’t wait to see him at the party.”

The club is celebrating the launch of their experiment onboard Orbital Science’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. The experiment will be delivered from the rocket to the ISS via the Cygnus spacecraft on its first operational cargo delivery to the station.

“I’m really excited that an experiment we made is actually going into space,” senior Carissa Sage said. “I can’t believe it’s going to be run by astronauts.”

The experiment will investigate the enzymatic breakdown of glutamate, which builds to toxic levels in ALS patients.

“Ms. McCormick pitched a lot of different ideas to us,” senior Hannah Schroeter said. “We finally chose this one because we could help with the cause.”

The club members hope that the enzymes will work more efficiently in a microgravity environment. They also hope to raise public awareness of ALS.

The club has been working on the project since October of 2012, and it was selected to be sent to the ISS during December of 2012.