Rocket launch kicks off Space Week celebration

The annual community rocket launch kicks off Space Week at Fort Hays State University from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Ellis County Fair Grounds near the rodeo arena.

The United National General Assembly dedicated the first week in October as World Space Week to "recognize the launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on Oct. 10, 1967."

FHSU's Science and Math Education Institute (SMEI), Department of Geosciences, Forsyth Library, the Astronomy Club and the Department of Teacher Education have planned a week full of activities to celebrate.

SMEI and Forsyth Library have worked together to provide the FHSU Maker Space as a place to "invent, investigate and innovate." Tools and materials to assemble 50 model rockets for the rocket launch are available in Forsyth's Maker Space for a donation of $10. The Maker Space, in room 020, is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The annual community rocket launch is open to all ages. In case of high winds or inclement weather, this event will be canceled.

The observatory in Tomanek Hall will be open from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 7 and 8. The FHSU Astronomy Club will assist observers in viewing the night sky. In case of cloudy or inclement weather, this event will be canceled.

Dr. Simonetta DiPippo, an Italian astronaut and astrophysicist, will be presented in a live stream broadcast at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Forsyth Library. DiPippo will discuss "why the Earth is such a special and rare planet among the Solar System planets." This broadcast is in partnership with St. John's University, Italy.

Join Dr. John Heinrichs, chair of the Department of Geosciences, at the Science Café to learn about NASA's Curiosity Rover at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Gella's Diner, 117 11th St. Heinrichs will discuss the newest updates and developments on the rover in his presentation "Still Curious about Curiosity? A One-Year Update, Including the Latest Discoveries."

All events are free and open to the public.

For more information about the rocket launch or other Space Week activities, contact Heinrichs by phone at 785-628-4536 or by email at, or Dr. Paul Adams, director of SMEI and Anschutz Professor of Education, by phone at 785-628-4538 or by email at

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