HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Windward Community College, the UHCC Rocketry Team is in a space race against 59 other teams in the NASA Student Launch Project competition.
"It's intimidating but at the same time it's exciting competing with all these other universities," team leader Katherine Bronston said.
The team successfully executed test flights of a small version of a bigger rocket they’re designing and building.
"A lot of it is the testing and showing NASA that we can handle what we were assigned to do," team member Knyte Bennett-Jeremiah said.
In April the team will launch its ten-foot rocket near NASA's Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The rocket must meet NASA's design and payload specifications.
It has to reach an altitude of between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, then land safely and deploy a rover vehicle.
WCC Physics instructor Jacob Hudson is providing guidance.
"It's one thing to design a project, it's another to think of the consequences of when it goes wrong, and how do you mitigate those things," he said.
The 60 teams will launch their rockets in front of NASA experts who'll judge based on rocket performance, supporting paperwork and presentation.
“Our team’s getting better every day,” Bronston said, adding, “I’m not sure where we’ll be at launch week. Hopefully, we’ll be high up there.”
Hawaii's team is made up of engineering and physics students from UH Manoa, Windward Community College and Honolulu Community College.
Some of the students aim for careers in the aerospace industry.
“It shows that we are all capable of putting in the actual work that engineers would go through,” Bennett-Jeremiah said.