Engineering students place top 10 in NASA rocket launch competition

  • A team of four WSU aeronautical engineering students finished seventh place in NASA’s Student Launch Initiative competition.
  • The WSU team’s design was selected to compete and had a strong performance on the field against multiple major universities and other organizations.
  • Read more about the SLI competition.

Four Wichita State University aerospace engineering students have placed seventh in NASA’s Student Launch Initiative (SLI) competition. The team designed, built and launched a rocket to complete a simulated Moon mission.

Entering and competing the SLI program is incredibly competitive. Universities across the United States propose designs to meet strict altitude and payload requirements. NASA vets all of the designs and eliminates all but the best.

The WSU team’s 37-pound, 10-foot tall rocket is reusable and includes an active drag system for altitude control. Additionally, the rocket carries an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that autonomously orients itself for takeoff and delivers a simulated navigation beacon to a designated location.

Everything worked as the team planned at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the site of the competition. Scott Miller, the professor sponsoring the team, was happy with the results.

“These students clearly maximized learning and achievement,” said Miller. “It is amazing what a small group of motivated, intelligent, and hardworking people can do. We are so proud of them!”

Although Vanderbilt University took first place in the competition, WSU’s spot among the top 10 universities is a significant achievement. Students Bryan Cline, Skylar Dean, Jonathan Bowerman and Mike Foster accomplished as much as teams with over 20 students.

Learn more about the SLI Competition.

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