Fly me to the moon

5…4…3…2…1, liftoff! This famous countdown was echoed by high school students from around the country as part of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket launch and internship program which took place in Colorado in July. Brandon Reeves, senior in aerospace engineering, and Jeff Thompson, technician in polymer and fiber engineering, helped educate students on rocketry by building a 20-foot carbon fiber rocket that reached a mile in altitude.

Fly me to the moonThrough a generous donation from Alliance Techsystems Inc. and GKN Aerospace to the Department of Polymer and Fiber Engineering, Thompson and Reeves were able to buy the materials needed to build the 45-pound rocket. The structure is one of three used as part of ULA’s program to teach students about rockets and get them energized and thinking about a career in science and engineering. Reeves and Thompson have been working on the rocket’s construction since spring semester, and both are looking forward to ULA using it to showcase research and development for high schoolers.

“Building this rocket has been a great experience. I learned a lot and am excited that ULA will be able to use it to help educate younger kids and get them excited about the field,” Reeves said.