Clark’s Aerospace program is one of only two junior colleges participating in a world-wide competition. The 2019 Spaceport America Cup is in New Mexico from June 18 to 22. Eleven students with their adviser and professor, Keith Stansbury brought their rocket to be judged on innovation, design and quality.
Two days into the trip, the students are hard at work with last minute alterations and fixing things that have somehow gone wrong with their rocket. They have had a mysterious motor burnout. They also suffered a lack of care by TSA when rummaging and unwrapping equipment that had been carefully bubble wrapped for shipment. TSA never re-wrapped the items and just let it bang around during travel.
Despite setbacks, the students impressed judges and government officials who saw their rocket design. Stansbury said, this has been the most complex and well thought-out design yet. He also appreciates how independent his students are, working on designs, scaled mock-ups and moving on to the rocket itself.
Noah Justice, safety officer, was very excited about the government official who stopped for a long time and talked to them about their work. Justice said that a man working with a Congressional committee to build a coalition of schools to help lead the forefront of aerospace development in the US in the next 10 to 20 years, stopped to talk to them. “He came over in part because he was interested in the air brakes,” Justice said. “The fact that he came over, was really interested in our stuff and then gave a business card to our faculty lead… That was really cool.”
One student received, “on the spot recognition” for her design of the active cooling system that is integrated with their CubeSat Enclosure. Gabi Miller is co-team lead and is enjoying her first time at the competition.