Skip to: Main Content Search Navigation Secondary Navigation

OHIO rocket team selected to compete at 2020 Spaceport America Cup

Rylie Miller | Nov 12, 2019
2019 Rocket Team

OHIO rocket team selected to compete at 2020 Spaceport America Cup

Rylie Miller | Nov 12, 2019

Ohio University’s rocket team has been officially accepted as one of 150 competitors at the Spaceport America Cup in June 2020.

Established several years ago, the team has competed in the Spaceport America Cup four times, last year finishing 35th among more than 120 teams. Teams are selected through an application process in which they create a detailed competition plan. The team’s previous success is also taken into consideration.

“We hope to improve our standing from last year and demonstrate the capability of our rocket and associated systems,” said AIAA chair Alex Polacek. “This year, we’re taking some big steps for developing our own motor and air brake system.”

The 20-member team, which comprises freshmen to seniors, is currently developing prototypes and completing different tests. Each team member participates to bring some piece of the rocket together during this stage.

“The motor team is working to build a test stand and get some first small engines built this semester, and the payload team is working toward getting an initial design for the air brakes 3D printed and built,” Polacek said. “The following semester we’ll work on the programming and calculations needed to build the payload and air brake system. The payload will be a sensor that measures thermal heating of the nose cone and then compares it to a mathematical model of the thermal heating on the nose cone.”

While June might seem a long way off, the team spends a great deal of time planning out the different variables needed for success. 

“We hope to show the judges what Ohio University can do,” Polacek said. “Competition is a great learning opportunity. It gives everyone that attends the ability to network with the biggest names in aerospace and meet other students.”