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Student design team flies high at rocketry competition

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A student design team from Waterloo Engineering recently took first place in its class for the second year in a row at an international rocketry competition in New Mexico.

Waterloo Rocketry, which is comprised primarily of engineering undergraduates, successfully launched its new rocket, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), to an altitude of 13,412 feet to top 14 teams in the hybrid and liquid rocket category.

Members of a Waterloo Engineering student design team prepare to launch their new rocket, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), during a recent competition in New Mexico, where they finished first in their category.

Members of a Waterloo Engineering student design team prepare to launch their new rocket, Unexploded Ordinance (UXO), during a recent competition in New Mexico, where they finished first in their category.

Members of a Waterloo Engineering student design team prepare to launch their new rocket, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), during a recent competition in New Mexico, where they finished first in their category.

In all, more than 1,400 students on 124 teams from around the world took part in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where it has been held for the last two years.

Waterloo has competed at the event for eight years. The second-place finisher in its category this time out was from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Most teams rely on commercially manufactured solid engines, but Waterloo uses a hybrid engine that is both designed and manufactured by students.

“We enjoy the additional engineering challenges and learning opportunities that arise from developing this complicated subsystem ourselves,” Jacob Deery, operations lead for the team, wrote in an email.

Team part of strong Canadian showing

The team also prides itself on the development of ground support equipment, including a control system that enables launch of its rocket from 3,000 feet away. That system was the subject of a conference presentation that was also part of the competition.

The overall winner at the event was McGill University, which led a particularly strong showing by Canadian universities.

Waterloo team members at the competition were Aaron Morrison, Adam Paul, Alex Mihaila, David Ng, Doris Jiang, Edward Yang, Emily Ma, Hilbert Li, Jacob Deery, Miranda Daly, Nick Christopher, Nina Kornilovsky, Riley Holierhoek, Robin Liu, Shirley Kong and Vithusan Rajkumar.

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