YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Not many people know that Youngstown State University has a rocket club.
It was officially recognized by the university last August.
Formed by three engineering students, the YSU Rocket Club is shooting for the stars.
“I always thought space was cool and rockets are like the most powerful thing on the planet when it comes to, like, moving things around,” said YSU Rocket Club co-founder Thomas Saunders.
This past school year, the club worked toward a big goal: launching a rocket at the Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico.
It’s an international collegiate competition uniting the world’s best young rocketeers.
“So it’s held at Spaceport America, so it’s the same place where the Virgin Galactic plane is held and launched, and that space plane with the rocket,” said Mitchell Kolacz, YSU Rocket Club’s co-founder.
The club packed its rocket in a van and made the 26-hour cross-country drive.
The objective? Launch their rocket to an altitude of 10,000 feet.
Students had a lot of fun preparing for the launch, spending the better part of two years for just 200 seconds of flight.
“The project name that we’ve been going by is ‘Making Penguins Fly’ at the 2022 Spaceport America Cup,” said YSU Rocket Club co-founder Taylor Deprofio.
Weather delayed the competition for a few days. When the time finally came, the club was the fourth team to launch.
With a cast penguin as payload, their rocket soared to 9,072 feet.
Although that’s just short of the goal, the club is ecstatic.
“Our first time, we were happy with the performance of it,” said Kolacz.
“Absolutely,” Deprofio and Saunders agreed.
The three just graduated. They want the club to keep competing at the Spaceport America Cup.
Building the rocket is also a senior design project. As long as seniors want to keep building rockets, the club will live on.