Last summer’s explosion of the Space X rocket meant the destruction of a research project that a team of scientists from Montana’s Rocky Mountain College was working on. The team, led by Dr. Andy Wildenberg, was attempting to grow algae in space in a jello-like substance instead of in water.
The team from Montana had gone to Florida to watch the launch of the rocket. The first stage of the launch went well – the rocket soared higher and higher and was almost out of sight – so the researchers went inside to the briefing room. Yet soon everything got real quiet in the briefing room and words like “anomaly” were being mentioned by the space station staff.
The official statement issued by Space X stated that the vehicle “experienced an anomaly on ascent.” Several other research projects from other schools were destroyed in the explosion.
The research team is awaiting word as to when they can participate again in space research. The spacecraft that carried the RMC research was headed to the International Space Station on a resupply mission. It was carrying more than two tons of supplies including 1,500 pounds of food and provisions.
Rocky Mountain College is located in Billings. It was formed in 1947 by the combination of three separate schools that date back to the 1870’s.
International Space Station