PROVO, Utah (ABC4) — A team led by students at Brigham Young University (BYU) has reason to celebrate this year as they designed a winning rocket that beat out 157 other teams from across the globe during a recent competition in New Mexico.
After 15 seasons of unsuccessful attempts at placing, the college has finally claimed the winning title at the 2023 Spaceport America Cup.
This competition, which is the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition, consisted of about 1,700 participants in 158 teams of college students from across 24 different countries.
It took place over six days in the New Mexico desert near Las Cruces, giving students a rather difficult objective: to launch a rocket to a precise altitude target and release a device weighing no less than 8.8 pounds to measure high-altitude thermal radiation in the earth’s atmosphere.
The rocket, which was prepared for over a year by the BYU Rocketry Team and named Solitude in honor of the Utah-based ski resort, bolstered the best performance out of all teams by peaking at just feet below the 10,000-foot altitude target threshold and won them the first place slot in their category.
“These students reflect the best of BYU — the science and the service,” remarked faculty advisor David Fullwood, a BYU professor of engineering. “On the one hand, this is an incredibly competitive event – you need to have a perfect flight to win; on the other hand, the camaraderie is amazing, as teams reach out to help everyone around them perform their best.”
According to a news release by BYU, members of the team already have impressive resumes under their belt, as some students reportedly had to fly in from internships at NASA, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and Bell Helicopter. Other members are currently interning at BAE near Hill Airforce Base, Janicki, and Northrop Grumman.
There’s no doubt that this week, the team can look back fondly on their performance and look forward to bright futures ahead.