Student Competitions

Vanderbilt U Wins NASA's Student Launch Challenge 3 Years Running

Vanderbilt University has won NASA's Student Launch Challenge for the third year in a row.

The Vanderbilt team won $5,000 as they beat out second- and third-place finishers from the University of Louisville and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. U Massachusetts, Boston took the rookie of the year prize.

"Student Launch is a competitive learning opportunity for teams of students from middle school to university level to conduct research and development in rocket propulsion systems," according to a news release. "Students spend eight months designing, building and testing small high-powered rockets, scientific payloads and/or ground support equipment using the same launch criteria as NASA."

Thirty-five teams launched single-stage rockets in the competition then submitted the flight data for analysis. The analyses were then paired with design reviews and other materials submitted before the launch to select the winners.

"Student Launch enables teams to research innovative solutions to technical problems, which could potentially advance future NASA missions," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "Students demonstrate advanced concepts of 3-D printing, carbon-fiber engineering and autonomous systems, all which may benefit NASA exploration or the development of new aerospace industry or products."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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