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NASA Announces Preliminary Award Winners of 2018 Student Launch

Press Release From: Marshall Space Flight Center
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On April 8, the usually quiet fields of Bragg Farms in North Alabama transformed into a small spaceport as nearly 50 teams from 23 states launched their student-built rockets in the annual Student Launch competition, hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Preliminary winners were announced at an awards ceremony April 7, sponsored and hosted by Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division of Promontory, Utah, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. The altitude award winners were determined April 8.

Participating in the Student Launch challenge, student teams demonstrated advanced aerospace and engineering skills as they launched their rockets to an altitude of 1 mile, deployed an automated parachute system and landed the rocket safely for reuse.

The event was the culmination of eight months of work for students, during which the teams built and tested their rockets and completed a series of technical reviews mirroring criteria in NASA's engineering design lifecycle and safety protocol.

Now in its 18th year, Student Launch included a visit from NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli, members of the International Space Station's Expedition 52/53 crew; a behind-the-scenes tour of Marshall facilities; and a rocket fair, where students showcased their rocket designs to NASA team members, Orbital ATK and the public.

Marshall's Academic Affairs Office manages Student Launch, to further NASA’s major education goal of attracting and encouraging students to pursue degrees and careers in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NASA’s Office of Education and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, as well as Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division and the Huntsville chapter of the National Space Club, provide funding and leadership for the initiative.

2018 Student Launch Preliminary Award Winners

Best Vehicle Design Award, presented to the team with the most creative, innovative and safety-conscious overall rocket design:
1st Place: University of Alabama, Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama
2nd Place: University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
3rd Place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
 
Safety Award, presented to the team that most successfully maximized safety and science value in their design:
1st Place: University of Louisville
2nd Place: University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina
3rd Place: Vanderbilt University
Project Review Award: presented to the team with the best combination of written reviews and formal presentations:
1st Place: University of North Carolina - Charlotte
2nd Place: Vanderbilt University
3rd Place: University of Louisville
 
Education Engagement Award (College Division), presented to the team that best informed others about rocketry and other space-related topics:
1st Place: University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
2nd Place: Citrus College
3rd Place: (3-way tie) Piedmont Virginia Community College, Charlottesville, Virginia
University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
Vanderbilt University
Education Engagement Award (Middle/High School Division), presented to the team that best informed others about rocketry and other space-related topics:
1st Place: Boy Scout Troop 17, Charlottesville, Virginia
2nd Place: Maharishi School, Fairfield, Iowa
3rd Place: Madison West High School Teams Liquid Vibrations and Solar Imaging, Madison, Wisconsin
Altitude Award (College Division), presented to the college or university team that came closest the target altitude of 5,280 feet (1 mile) above ground level: Carnegie Mellon University – 5,367 feet, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
Altitude Award (Middle/High School Division), presented to the middle or high school team that came closest the target altitude of 5,280 feet (1 mile) above ground level: Madison West High School Team Liquid Vibrations – 5,271 feet
 
Payload Design Award, presented to the team with the most creative and innovative payload design while maximizing safety and science value:
1st Place: Vanderbilt University
2nd Place: University of North Carolina - Charlotte
3rd Place: Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
 
Best Website Award (College Division), presented to the college or university team with the best, most efficient website:
1st Place: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, California
2nd Place: University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
3rd Place: University of Akron
Best Website Award (Middle/High School Division), presented to the middle or high school team with the best, most efficient website:
1st Place: Engineering and Technologies Academy, San Antonio, Texas
2nd Place: Krueger Middle School, San Antonio, Texas
3rd Place: Downingtown Area High School, Exton, Pennsylvania
 
Rocket Fair Display Award (College Division), presented to the college or university team that is judged by their peers to have had the best display at the Student Launch Rocket Fair:
1st Place: Piedmont Virginia Community College
2nd Place: University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
3rd Place: University of California – Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
 
Rocket Fair Display Award (Middle/High School Division), presented to the middle or high school team that is judged by their peers to have had the best display at the Student Launch Rocket Fair:
1st Place: Cedar Falls High School
2nd Place: Tie – St. Monica’s Home School Group, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Engineering and Technologies Academy
 
Best-Looking Rocket Award (College Division), presented to the college or university team that is judged by their peers to have had the best-looking rocket:
1st Place: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
2nd Place: University of North Carolina - Charlotte
3rd Place: Florida State University – Panama City, Panama City, Florida
 
Best-Looking Rocket Award (Middle/High School Division), presented to the middle or high school team that is judged by their peers to have had the best-looking rocket:
1st Place: Madison West High School Team Liquid Vibrations
2nd Place: Plantation High School Team Optics, Plantation, Florida
3rd Place: Boy Scout Troop 17
 
Team Spirit Award (College Division), presented to the college or university team that is judged by their peers to have had the best team spirit on launch day:
1st Place: Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
2nd Place: Piedmont Virginia Community College
3rd Place: Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
 
Team Spirit (Middle/High School Division), presented to the middle or high school team that is judged by their peers to have had the best team spirit on launch day:
1st Place: Krueger Middle School
2nd Place: Madison West High School Team Liquid Vibrations
3rd Place: St. Monica’s Home School Group
 
Judges' Choice Award, presented to the middle or high school team that is selected by a secret panel of judges to have had the most creative payload, best design and workmanship of their rocket and best engagement with the rocket fair crowd. This includes a $2,000 prize from the National Space Club:
1st Place: Cedar Falls High School
2nd Place: Madison West High School Team Liquid Vibrations
3rd Place: Krueger Middle School

 
The overall winners of Student Launch will be announced in early May, as the final calculations are still under review for accuracy. This will include the first- through third-place teams, as well as the rookie award winner, with the first-place winner receiving a $5,000 prize from sponsor Orbital ATK and the second-place winner receiving a $2,500 prize from the National Space Club.

For more information about NASA's Student Launch, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/studentlaunch

Archived launch-day footage is available on NASA’s Student Launch Facebook account:

https://www.facebook.com/NASAStudentLaunch/


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