St. Monica Rocketry Club prepares for NASA launch with shrimp payload

Ridgefield’s St. Monica Rocketry Club is headed to the NASA Student Launch Initiative in April.

The team, which placed 12th in the nation for the Team America Rocketry Challenge in May, will be the first from Connecticut to make it to the NASA-sponsored event.

The journey begins with a flight to Huntsville, Ala., on April 4. The next day there will be a launch week kickoff event. April 7 is launch day, followed by a banquet.

Later in the month, NASA will provide each team with a post-launch assessment that will be posted on the team’s site by mentor Don Daniels April 28 at 8 a.m.

NASA requires the team to send an experimental payload one mile up into the air.

“We will be sending live shrimp up as the payload, with a complicated cooling and ventilation system,” Michelle Daniels, Don’s wife, wrote in a post. “The experiment is to see if the shrimp will survive g-force and the landing.”   

“It takes seven years to reach Mars from Earth, and having a sustainable food source is an issue,” she said. “These shrimp could be used to feed other food that the astronauts could grow and eat, like salmon.”

Those looking to donate may do so at or