The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium will host the nation’s largest high-powered rocket competition for Native American college students on Saturday, April 21, at Richard Bong State Recreational Area in Kansasville.
The First Nations Launch is a collaboration between NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, its Minority University Research and Education Project, the National Space Grant Foundation, and WSGC. A total of 18 teams from 11 states will converge on the Carthage College campus in Kenosha from April 19-22 to present their rocket design projects, participate in motor and payload building workshops, and prepare to launch their high-powered rockets.
Top performing teams will be invited to tour launch facilities at the Kennedy Space Center near Orlando, Florida, this summer. First-place teams will participate in Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockOn! Program at Wallops Flight Facility this summer and NASA’s Student Launch Initiative in Huntsville, Alabama, next spring.
The College of Menominee Nation from Keshena, Wisconsin, returns this year, while Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College from Chief Lake, Wisconsin, will field a team for the first time. Judging this year’s competition are engineers and researchers from Kennedy and Johnson space centers, Glenn Research Center, The Boeing Company, and Sierra Nevada Corporation. The Wisconsin Tripoli Prefecture provides the chief safety official for the event.
Also scheduled this weekend is the WSGC’s own Collegiate Rocket Competition, with 10 Wisconsin teams participating. Led by WSGC Associate Director William Farrow from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the event follows a similar format and is open to academic affiliates of the consortium.
About WSGC: The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) is part of a national network of consortia funded by NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. Congress established the program in 1988 to contribute to the nation’s scientific enterprise through research, education, and public service projects.
About Carthage: Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been the lead institution for WSGC since 2014. Carthage is a four-year, private liberal arts college with roots in the Lutheran tradition, combining an environment of reflection and self-discovery with a culture of high expectation so students uncover and ignite their true potential.