SF Club Competing In NASA Student Rocket Launch

SF Engineering Club's rocket teamThe Engineering Club at Santa Fe College will blast off their rocket at NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative Sunday, April 22 near Huntsville, Ala. The initiative engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.

The SF Engineering Club was one of 42 university-level teams chosen nationwide last fall to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload. They are competing against such schools as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Florida. The SF team’s launch website is www.santafeusli.com.

“We did very well with our flight hardware check, with only one recommendation that was easy to fix,” wrote Jimmy Yawn, the team’s official rocket mentor, when he emailed this photo Friday morning. It shows most of the rocket team in front of the large rocket display at Marshall Space Flight Center during a break on the tour schedule yesterday.

“The Rocket Fair is today, the banquet’s Saturday, and the launch has been moved from Saturday to Sunday because of bad weather. Wish us luck!”

Yawn, coordinator of SF’s Career Resource Center, is certified level two by the Tripoli Rocketry Association and the National Association of Rocketry. He is accompanying the team along with the club’s advisors, Professors Karim Diff and Nacira Tache.

The student-built rockets are expected to climb 1 mile above ground level in the competition. The launch will take place Sunday starting at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The rockets must contain cameras that photograph both the flight and after landing.

“They’ve done just about all of the work on the rocket,” said Yawn, in an interview before the team left Gainesville Wednesday morning. “They have learned to use the tools and technology. The electronic stuff is beyond me. I couldn’t do what these students are doing.”

The rocket team includes students Obec Aburto, Christopher Beck, George Briggs, Angela Kim, Eric Kuzmenko, Joshua Muse, David Saavedra, David Suberman, Gregory Van, Michael Vaught and Jialing Wei. Club president Laniece Osteen wrote the grant proposal for the initiative and has organized the team’s efforts.

Award winners in special areas will be announced starting at 6:30 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, April 21. Flight awards will be announced on Sunday. (Overall Student Launch Project winners will not be announced until May.)

May the force be with you, SF Engineering Club!

NASA will provide live coverage of the event on the social Web service UStream, complete with embedded Twitter feed:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-ms

Launch enthusiasts also may keep up with real-time flight data — including how close each team comes to the goal altitude of 1 mileĀ  — and post-launch awards show results via the direct Twitter feed at:

https://twitter.com/SLI_1MILEHIGH

NASA University Student Launch website