NASA First Nations Launch Competition

Aim for the sky and you’ll find the stars. The NASA First Nations Launch competition lasted from April 22nd to the 24th, where you could hear the screaming blowdown over the airspace over Kenosha, Wisconsin. This Artemis Student Challenge aims to provide students, with no prior knowledge of rocketry, experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields. Furthermore, the program focuses on students from Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTIs), and American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) offering schools to highly encourage and engage Native American students in the opportunity of working with high-powered rockets.

Teams from 13 schools around our nation, representing their 25 tribal organizations, are led by faculty-advisors and maned by undergraduate students in conceiving, designing, fabricating, and piloting an original, high-powered rocket. Students banded together to tackle the overall topic of flight dynamics with varying degrees of difficulties such as creating a 3D reconstruction of the trajectory of their flight. Obstacles students encountered ranged from subsystems of their rocket including a cold gas thruster system, a gyroscope sensor, and an external camera being made exclusively from materials made out of a list of kit combinations to maintaining a roll rate of 120-240rpm for 3 seconds, while at a range of 3,500 to 4,500 ft.

Our very own UHM First Nation Launch team placed 3rd in the Moon challenge, where the team was required to reach an apogee of 3.500 to 4,000 ft. and have onboard a GPS data logger in order to verify and create a 3D reconstruction of their rocket’s flight. Overall, they placed 3rd in the written presentation part of the Moon challenge, but took 1st place in the oral presentation part. They would also end up taking home the aesthetic and team spirit awards due to the teams cooperation with others and designing the most innovative and professional-looking rocket.

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