UTSA students take learning to new heights with rocket project

Aeronautics and Rocket Club students will compete in world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition this month

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA students are taking learning to new heights with an innovative project that tests their mechanical engineering skills.

Aeronautics and Rocket Club students are getting ready to compete in the Spaceport America Cup, which is the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition.

“This has been a major undertaking for the organization. It has helped us develop real world engineering skills,” said club president Haven Russell.

Russell competed last year, but hopes to win this year with a rocket they built differently. The team spent months working on a hybrid rocket and built a launch trailer for it.

“Its primary purpose is to allow the rocket to have a platform that it can launch off of and be mobile as well,” said Kevin Eisenbarger, a UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering student.

Russell said building rockets can get expensive. In fact, this project cost over $10,000.

“We are always looking for partnerships that we can have, both from local and corporate sponsors to build a lot of these resources and infrastructure, so we can bring rockets to San Antonio,” Russell said.

The competition takes place in Southern New Mexico from June 19 to June 24.

“The students are learning things like project management and teamwork that’s interdisciplinary, and these are the types of skills that aerospace engineers have to exercise in industry and by participating in projects like this, students get to practice being engineers,” said Daniel Pineda, assistant professor of the UTSA Department of Mechanical Engineering.

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.