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Rocketry club wins big at NASA competition

May 11, 2009

The ASU student rocketry club Daedalus Astronautics took a top award at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s 2009 University Student Launch Initiative rocket competition.

The club is made up of about 20 engineering students, most studying aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Daedalus Astronautics sent seven members to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to compete in April.

The team won an event in which competitors had to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with scientific payload (cargo) and try to reach an altitude of one mile. The Daedalus rocket reached a mile and 13 feet.

The ASU team competed against students from 18 other colleges and universities across the country, including Auburn University, Iowa State University, University of Alabama and Florida Institute of Technology.

Teams were evaluated on rocket performance, design, and scientific value of the payload.

“We enrolled in this competition to give our new members a chance to take charge in the design, construction and launch of a high-powered sounding rocket,” said James Villarreal, founder of the club.

“This was a fantastic learning experience for the newer members on our team,” says Villarreal.  “I'm very happy to say that this team will continue to do well long after the senior members are gone.”

The competition is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all areas of expertise deemed critical to NASA's mission.

Daedalus Astronautics also recently garnered recognition when Villarreal won a top prize at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation International Student Conference.

The team’s participation was made possible by sponsorship from Raytheon Corp., Orbital Sciences Corp., ATK, and Freescale Semiconductor.

For more information about Daedalus Astronautics, visit the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering newsroom or the organization website.