Engineering students from Utah State University won their fourth national NASA rocket competition in five years after launching their homemade spacecraft nearly a mile into the air.
The USU Chimera Rocket team took the top prize out of 500 students from 41 colleges and universities in April at the NASA University Student Launch Initiative in Alabama. Competition judges choose the overall winners based on design and flight results.
USU's rocket, nicknamed "the Sturgeon," won best overall vehicle design by the NASA peer review panel. The rocket weighed nearly 30 pounds and measured 8 feet, coming within 2 percent of the target mile-high altitude. Stephen Witmore, USU professor of engineering and faculty adviser, said working through the rocket competition will prepare them for their future careers in ways that can't be learned through a traditional classroom experience.