For 3.7 seconds, a Weber State College computer that blasted off on a commercial rocket last month worked perfectly. Then a power failure of unknown cause shut it down.
Robert Twiggs, director of the school's Center for Aerospace Technology, said even in the brief time it operated, the computer accomplished its tasks of measuring temperature, velocity and barometric pressure.However, because of the power interruption, the computer failed to switch on a Morton Thiokol experiment that was to run during the rocket's five-minute space flight.
Dean Lester, a Morton Thiokol associate chemist working on the experiment, said Thursday the company now is negotiating to take its project aboard a future space flight.
He said the experiment involves using a microgravity setting to suspend flake aluminum on a thin film to create a plastic-type material.
The student-assembled computer was carried into space aboard a rocket launched by E-Prime Aerospace Corp. of Titusville, Fla., on Nov. 17. The launch was the first commercial venture using Air Force facilities.
Following the five-minute flight to an altitude of 14,000 feet, the rocket's nose cone, which carried the WSC computer, jettisoned into the Atlantic Ocean, where it was recovered. The computer canister was returned to the Ogden college.