NASA has announced the selection of 60 teams that will compete in the Student Launch competition held at Huntsville’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which is part of a series of student challenges relating to the agency’s Artemis program.
The nine-month competition will feature teams from 22 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. The challenge is managed by NASA’s Southeast Regional Office of STEM Engagement in Huntsville.
The competition provides middle school, high school and college students with a realistic, hands-on experience mimicking the design process utilized by NASA and industry leaders in the use of developing and operating new hardware.
According to NASA, students are required to design, build, test, and fly a payload and high-powered amateur rocket, which will reach an altitude between 3,500 and 5,500 feet.
Additionally, student teams will meet numerous documentation and presentation milestones with NASA experts in the development of their rocket. The student-crafted reports typically span hundreds of pages of work by the end of the competition, NASA says.
Months ahead of the teams’ competition flight, students will predict their rocket’s altitude as they submit their preliminary design review package to NASA in November.
Categories for which teams are scored include safety, vehicle design, social media presence, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics engagement. NASA says the STEM Engagement Award recognizes teams for sharing their knowledge of the process with the next generation of engineers, scientists and explorers.
Educational institutions and students will collaborate with the Southeast Regional Office of STEM Engagement through the Student Launch competition to simulate innovation and advance NASA’s human exploration mission. The upcoming space exploration leaders are referred to NASA as the Artemis Generation, as the program aims to return the United States to the moon and, eventually, to Mars.
Through its programs, NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement seeks to encourage students to enter STEM-related degree and career fields. The office is directed by the mission of NASA’s Space Operations and Exploration Systems Development.
Industry leader Northrop Grumman and the Huntsville chapter of the National Space Club provide financial backing and leadership for the initiative.
In 2020, the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) student team placed third overall and first in safety in the national Student Launch competition.
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL