Rocketry Club Ready to Launch Aspirations

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
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Rose Rocketry Club members spent this fall learning about building and flying rockets in preparation for NASA’s 2022 Student Launch, a collegiate challenge simulating space exploration missions.

The new Rocketry Club has launched aspirations among a group of 60 collegiate competitors for NASA’s 2022 Student Launch, a nine-month challenge providing realistic experiences for college students following the engineering design process used by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and industry engineers for space exploration.

The 19-student team within a variety of academic majors will design, build, test, and fly a payload and high-powered amateur rocket to an altitude between 3,500 and 5,500 feet. The competition task mirrors NASA missions like the Mars Curiosity Rover by autonomously locating where the team’s rocket landed. The rocket’s grid position will be identified on an aerial image of the launch site, while transmitting the data back through Global Positioning System technology to the ground station. This simulates a challenge faced by NASA mission managers in communicating with spacecraft and payloads on distant planetary bodies. Teams also must meet multiple documentation and presentation milestones with NASA experts.

“We seek the challenge to put ourselves in a real-world, multidisciplinary-engineering environment. As Rose-Hulman students we are greatly interested in delving into the most challenging problems and coming up with unique and elegant solutions,” says Ryan St. Clair, the Rocketry Club’s co-founder and vice president.

Other team leaders include co-founder and president Garrett Hart, a sophomore computer engineering student; secretary Jessica Russell, a sophomore computer science major; treasurer Donald Hau, a junior electrical engineering student; and public affairs chair Athena Henderson, a junior computer engineering major.

These and other members are relatively new to building and flying Level 1 high-powered rockets, and the club has made up for this lack of experience by supporting team members in creating and launching rockets this fall by subsidizing rocketry kit and motor costs.

“The underlying mission behind Rose Rocketry is to bring aerospace activities and experience to Rose-Hulman,” says St. Clair, a junior mechanical engineering major. “We anticipate being a top-level contender at the competition after having a great start to the season.”

The club’s Project Silverstein is named for the late Abe Silverstein, a 1929 Rose Polytechnic Institute graduate who was a pioneer of American air and space exploration. He managed NASA’s Apollo program that put a man on Earth’s moon and then served as the longtime director of the agency’s Glenn Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio.