|UND team earns spot in NASA's top national rocket challenge|
University of North Dakota student team, Frozen Fury 2, or F2, got the “go for launch” from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a top national rocket contest next May. NASA’s 2007-2008 University Student Launch Initiative rocketeering challenge includes 11 college and university teams in eight states.
The annual NASA challenge aims to inspire students to pursue careers in science, engineering, math, and technology, all areas that are vital to NASA’s ongoing mission in space and to the continued economic prosperity of the nation, says Tim Young, an astrophysicist and associate professor of physics who coaches the UND rocket team.
“Their experience with several successful launches as part of the North Dakota Student Rocket Initiative Project (STRIPE) really convinced these students to get into this major national competition,” says Young.
NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative was founded in 2006 as a sister program to its rocket-building initiative for high school students. The initiative is hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and state Space Grant Consortiums (including North Dakota’s) with ATK Launch Systems of Brigham City, Utah, as the primary corporate sponsor. Space Grant Consortiums are coalitions of state colleges, universities, and other institutions funded by NASA to promote interest in technical careers through innovative space-related courses, hands-on science and engineering programs, and interactive outreach opportunities.
The rocket challenge gives students practical experience in managing aerospace and engineering projects similar to those found in a professional environment, Young notes. Guided by NASA’s Marshall Center engineers and their own science and math professors, the teams will spend eight months designing, building, and launching rockets with built-in, working science payloads, according to a NASA project description.
“Students also must raise funds for their rocket projects; they’re off to a great start with the UND Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) donating half of the funds needed,” Young says. So besides building their rocket, they’ll have to raise additional cash for the project.
For more information about the student’s progress on the Frozen Fury rocket, see http://www.frozenfury.und.edu ( http://www.frozenfury.und.edu/ ). For more information about STRIPE, see http://www.rocket.und.edu/. For more information about the NASA Student Launch Initiative, see http://education.msfc.nasa.gov/usli