Students’ rocket to fly in NASA competition

A team of UC Davis students aims to fly their rocket exactly one mile high April 20 during NASA’s Student Launch Projects competition near Huntsville, Alabama. This is the first NASA Student Launch Projects 2013year the UC Davis SpaceED rocket team has taken part in the national competition.

The aim of the competition is to design, build and launch a rocket that can fly to an altitude of exactly one mile carrying a scientific payload, said team member Dan Berman, a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. Teams lose points for every foot of altitude above or below the one-mile mark.

The team of about 15 mostly undergraduate students has been working on the project since last August, including submitting regular reports to NASA and teleconferences with NASA engineers.

Video: Watch some of the team talk about the project.

“They get to see how a real project is run, communicating with real engineers and fulfilling real design requirements,” said Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and one of the faculty advisors to the team.

“They have all the challenges and all of the rules of a ‘real’ rocket,” she said.

The team has already carried out two successful test launches at the Snow Ranch launch site near Livermore east of Stockton.

Also advising the team are Mohammed Hafez and Fidelis Eke, both professors in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Marti Sarigul-Klijn, lecturer in the College of Engineering. The UC Davis SpaceED Rocket Team is associated with the Space Engineering Research and Graduate program, established in 2001, which offers courses related to space flight.

The Student Launch Projects competition is sponsored by NASA and ATK.

More information: NASA video about Student Launch Projects.

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