Scientist sisters set on capturing data for NASA

Posted at 8:48 PM, Aug 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-13 20:48:06-04

SEATTLE (KCPQ/CNN) - Tinkering in the garage on a sunny afternoon, sisters Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung are perfecting their summer project.

“This is a Loki Lego Launcher, and it’s a spacecraft that we’ve already launched twice before this,” Rebecca said.

During the first launch the balloon went up to 78,000 feet, the girls said. A second launch cleared 101,000 feet.

Now preparing for their third launch, the girls are heading to Wyoming to be in the path of totality during the solar eclipse. They will use their spacecraft to capture images and data for NASA.

“We’re hoping to see if we can capture footage of the moon’s shadow over the Earth during the eclipse,” said 10-year-old Kimberly, who designed the launcher.

Geared with a solar panel, a flight computer and a GoPro, the sisters were surprised how successful their past project plans turned out.

“It has a GPS on it, which tracks latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, direction, and then we have temperature, pressure and voltage currents and power,” Rebecca said. “The temperature varied with the different layers of the atmosphere.”

The experiments are a family affair. Dad shoots the video and the girls launch the balloon.

And back home, they analyze data, develop new hypotheses and create more Popsicle sticks with images of Legos and cats.

“We named it the Loki Lego Launcher because of Loki, our late cat,” Kimberly said. “We put a picture of him attached to a Popsicle stick.”

Their GoPro footage caught Loki soaring high above the earth.

The summer science project that started in a Seattle garage also caught the attention of the White House. At last year’s White House Science Fair, the girls were invited to meet former President Obama.

“He’s a huge deal, and he was taking the time to talk to us, and we’re just little girls who launched a weather balloon,” Rebecca said.

They are siblings with a passion for science, and together, they ca inspire little girls everywhere that you’re never too young to reach for the stars.

“It’s really nice to show other girls that, ‘You can do this, too,’” Kimberly said.

Copyright 2017 KCPQ via CNN. All rights reserved.