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Team members holding rocket

A rocket built by a team of UWFox students recently placed first in the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium’s Collegiate Rocket Launch competition. The competition included 13 colleges and universities from around the state. Pictured with their “Red Hot Chili Rocket” are (left to right): Maddison Sauer, Appleton; Kate Lenz, Potter; Shawn Schumacher, Waupaca; Brian Eberwein, Appleton; Drew Eisenberg, Watertown; and Justin Walters, Appleton.

In the very first year they participated, a team of University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley students recently took first place in a statewide rocket launch competition. The UWFox Rocketeers and their “Red Hot Chili Rocket” took the top score in a competition between 13 colleges and universities. A UW-Platteville team came in second and Milwaukee School of Engineering was third.

The competition was part of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium’s (WSGC) Collegiate Rocketry program where students show their engineering and design skills through direct application. The student teams design, construct and fly a high-power rocket that demonstrates a process to generate electric power during the flight.

It is more than just building the rocket. Participating students must also accurately predict the flight performance and recover the rocket safely and in flyable condition.

UWFox has been a member of the WSGC since 2005. During the past 12 years, student teams have also participated in the Tethered Aerostat Program, which challenges students to launch research platforms in a near-surface environment, and the Elijah High-Altitude Balloon Project, which allows students to fly science experiments in a near-space environment.

Beth Johnson, geology professor and WSGC institutional representative at UW-Fox Valley, says there are many opportunities for student research, internships and scholarships at UWFox through the WSGC program. She has been actively working to open up more opportunities for students at schools like UWFox and the WSGC has now started an undergraduate scholarship program specifically for students at two-year schools.two students working on rocket

“UWFox students have demonstrated their ability to successfully compete for the undergraduate research scholarships offered and we are excited to see the WSGC succeeding in its mission of bringing the excitement of space and aerospace science to citizens,” said Martin Rudd, regional executive officer and dean. “I’m thrilled to see the rocket team do so well, the very first year they participated in program.”

Rudd, who previously served as the institutional representative for the program, added that participation by students with the various programs of the WSGC has become broader and more advanced since UWFox joined. “This has allowed students from all backgrounds to experience participation in team projects and active learning under some of the best mentors possible.”

The WSGC is a member institution of the national network of Space Grant Consortia funded by NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. The mission of WSGC is to use the excitement and vision of space and aerospace science to equip the citizens of Wisconsin with the math, science and technology tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Students complete all of the work on the rockets with no professional assistance permitted. The faculty advisor for the team was Warren Vaz, engineering professor. Frank Nobile served as an industry mentor and technical advisor.


Media Inquiries: Laurie Krasin