VIP-USLI: Time to make the rockets

VIP-USLI: Time to make the rockets
Atlanta, GA

For students enrolled in VIP-USLI Rocket class, there is no AE, or ECE or ME. It's all about finding smart engineers to build a NASA-worthy rocket.

Team ARES is ready to blast off. They just need a few more engineers to propel them. Find out more at vip.gatech.edu

 

For students enrolled in VIP-USLI Rocket class, there is no AE, or ECE or ME. It's all about finding smart engineers to build a NASA-worthy rocket.

And next semester they are looking for a few more to join their ranks.

The multi-disciplinary elective, currently taught by AE's Eric Feron and ECE's Marilyn Wolf, tasks undergraduates from several majors to design, test, and build a rocket and launching system for entry into NASA's 2015 Student Launch Competition.  During the Spring 2015 semester, new students will be eligible to join the effort.

AE undergraduate Victor Rodriguez

"You learn so much because everything you do, it's got to be up to NASA's standards," says AE student Victor S. Rodriguez, 20 who took the class this fall and will continue in the spring.

"So we've spent this [fall] semester doing proposal reviews, preliminary design reviews, and critical design reviews -- things I would never do in class. Things you definitely need to know."

With the design fairly complete, next semester's USLI students will be tasked with building the actual vehicle and launch system that will go to competition. Students wishing to sign up for the class should apply for a permit during registration.

The Fall semester class has already named its entry into the 2015 competition: ARES (autonomous rocket equipment system) and established a USLI web page to showcase their work. But the class hasn't yet raised the estimated $6,500 needed to build the vehicle. Thus far, a donation from the Georgia Space Grant Consortium is the group's only backing.

"We haven't really approached any businesses yet," said Rodriquez.

According to Rodriguez, the rocket must be able to carry a four-ounce payload to a height of 3,000 feet. The launching system must be able to automatically insert that payload and raise the rocket to an angle that is 5 percent off vertical.

"It's like the rocket that NASA is designing for Mars," said Rodriguez.

The entire USLI effort is supported by Georgia Tech's Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)program, which unites undergraduate education and faculty research in a team-based context. Undergraduate VIP students earn academic credits, while faculty and graduate students benefit from the design/discovery efforts of their teams.

 "They really know exactly what they need to do," says Dr. Eric Feron of his VIP-USLI students. 
"It's an exciting adventure."

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