HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — On or about June 9, a SpaceX-Falcon9 rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, and Robert Lind, a freshman student at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology from Northfield, hopes to be there with his family to observe.

Robert has a strong reason for wanting to be there. A patch design he created was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mission 12-Stockton Student Spaceflight Experiment Program mission patch art competition. Robert's patch design is now with the National Center for Earth and Space Education awaiting incorporation into the payload of Mission 12-Mercury to the International Space Station. The patch will be loaded onto the SpaceX-Falcon9 rocket, where it will orbit the Earth for three to six weeks.

Upon its return, the patch will be returned to Robert.

He is one of nine freshmen enrolled in the school’s Academy of Aviation Studies. Students in the program spend the majority of their day studying at the Atlantic Cape Community College campus in Mays Landing and return to ACIT for one class at the end of the school day.

“This is a great place for me to harness my abilities,” Robert said. “Plus, it’s pretty cool and a lot of fun.”

“I’ve always wanted to be an engineer,” he said. “Right now, I am planning to pursue aeronautical engineering.”

ACIT art instructor Fatjona Lubonja brought the contest to the students’ attention.

“All the students worked very hard on the project,” she said. “They did a thorough research on the NASA ISS mission, historical perspective, design ideas and aesthetic thinking in the triangle of creativity/art /science.

“Robert felt very happy and proud when his peers congratulated him and applauded his work. Not only in school, but when we visited the Intrepid Aviation Museum in New York, Robert and his fellow students received congratulations from the casual visitors and the volunteers after learning about Robert's patch design for the ISS. This winning has given him and his peers a great positive reinforcement toward their following projects.”