Awarded Top Prize In University Student Launch Initiative
A team of enterprising student rocketeers from Utah State
University in Logan has won the 2007-2008 University Student Launch
Initiative, according to event organizers at NASA's Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.
The annual competition, sponsored by ATK Launch Systems of
Brigham City, UT and Huntsville, challenges college and university
teams to design and build reusable rockets that can carry working
science payloads 1 mile high and return them safely to Earth. Their
work culminates each spring in a day-long launch event that draws
hundreds of spectators to the Tennessee Valley. Competition judges
- NASA engineers and scientists -- then evaluate each team's rocket
design, its flight data and its final written report on payload
results and overall experience.
As the top winner, the Utah State University team will receive
$5,000 from ATK Launch Systems and an invitation from NASA to
attend a space shuttle launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center,
The rocketry challenge was conceived
in 2006 as a sister event to the Student Launch Initiative for
middle school and high school students. Both are organized by the
Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office, part of Marshall's
Office of Human Capital. The goal of the events: to give
participating students a unique opportunity to gain practical
experience and hone future career skills.
"These students are seeing practical applications for the whole
spectrum of their math, science and technical classroom work," said
Tammy Rowan, manager of Marshall's Academic Affairs Office.
"They're managing complex science and technology research and
conducting aerospace and engineering projects from drawing board to
launch pad. They get to be mechanical engineers, rocket scientists
and theoretical researchers all at the same time."
"I'd like to congratulate all the teams that participated in
this year's rocketry challenge," said Mike Rudolphi, vice president
of ATK Launch Systems Site Operations and Integration in
Huntsville. "These students are without a doubt America's next
generation of rocket scientists. I applaud each team for its
The Utah State University team, which edged out runner-up
rocketeers from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and
Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, was
honored in April with three awards at a post-launch banquet: "Best
Payload Design," for its innovative ballistic control system; "Best
Project Review," for its thorough work in preparing and delivering
all written and oral flight-readiness presentations; and "Best Team
Other teams that participated in the 2007-2008 challenge include
students from Auburn University in Auburn, AL; the University of
Alabama in Huntsville; Harding University in Searcy, AR; Fisk
University in Nashville, TN; Vanderbilt University in Nashville;
and the College of Menominee Nation in Green Bay, WI.