Promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields by recruiting and training the next generation of aerospace stakeholders.    


Unique NASA Opportunity to Launch Rockets (2014)

Application Deadline:  18 October 2013
Selection date:  1 November 2013
Launch Competition:  5 April 2014


Congratulations to last year's Collegiate Rocket Launch Competition Winners

Engineering Teams
First Place: Team Woosh Generator
Second Place: Team Jarts
Third Place: Team Falcon

Non-Engineering Teams
First Place: R3 - Ripon College

Current & Past Award Recipients

About the Program

The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) announces the Student Rocket Design Competition. This competition is an opportunity for students to design and construct rockets to be launched at a competition in the spring of 2014 from Bong Recreational Area. The best performing teams at this competition will advance to the Regional Rocket Launch Competition later next spring.** Up to ten teams will be selected to take part in this competition. To qualify for the competition, interested teams of approximately four students will be required to submit a Notice of Intent to Compete, in which they name their team members and committed faculty mentor. Teams are allowed to seek advice from Industry, Tripoli, NAR, and others. WSGC will fund project construction for participating teams with budgets of up to $1000 each, and will also provide teams with specific hardware as noted below. Engineering teams will compete to design a one-stage, high-powered rocket that will achieve an apogee of 3000 ft as accurately as possible. The competition will also include design analysis, oral presentation, and assessment of data results, scored by professional engineers from both academia and industry. Scoring of the design report and post flight report will focus on the data system design and its performance. The flight competition would concentrate on the 3000 ft. altitude and the “return from flight clock. A first, second and third prize ($5000, $2500 and $1000 respectively) will be awarded to teams with the highest scores. Additionally, there will be a separate $2000 prize for first place among teams wishing to compete as "non-engineering" teams; teams competing for this prize are not permitted to compete for the general first, second and third prizes. The four prize-winning teams will be eligible to enter their rocket in the Regional Rocket Competition, a competition for top teams in the nine Great Midwestern Space Grant states (Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois).

** Additional Funding will be provided to those teams advancing to the Regional Competition.
*** Based on availability of funds.


The mission of NASA's Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium is to implement a coordinated statewide program of education, research, and outreach programs to maintain and enhance America's leadership and Wisconsin's future in space and aerospace science, design, and technology. To carry out this mission, WSGC sponsors a broad range of programs relevant to its mission and objectives. Further information about the mission and objectives of the WSGC may be found in the National Space Grant Strategic Plan and the NASA Directorate Goals.

It is the purpose of this Announcement of Opportunity to support the innovative, visionary projects that are student-led and designed to fully realize WSGC's goal of assisting in training the next generation of aerospace professionals.


Students constituting a team must be US citizens and must attend any WSGC Academic Affiliate Institution full-time to be eligible to compete (WSGC affiliate members are listed on the WSGC website). Each team will be required to have a committed faculty mentor and are allowed to seek advise/mentorship from Industry, Tripoli, NAR, and others. Graduate students are permitted to join a team but may not comprise the majority of the team members.

No experience is necessary to compete. Teams will be given the basic training and information required at a prep meeting shortly after selection.

Teams comprised of 50% or more engineering students must compete in the Engineering category.

Groups of students wishing to be paired up with like-minded students at other affiliate institutions should contact the WSGC Institutional Representative for their campus. All WSGC Institutional Representatives are listed on the WSGC website shown above. Members of groups underrepresented in aerospace disciplines are particularly encouraged to participate.

Individual students cannot participate in more than four WI Collegiate Rocket Competitions..

Competition Engineering Parameters**

Teams will compete to design a payload that will capture the performance data of a one-stage rocket. Of key interest is the team’s ability to report the speed vs. altitude and acceleration vs. altitude from more than 1 measurement system, e.g. pitot probes, GPS, flight video. In addition, flight performance ranking will also place importance on reducing the amount of time elapsed from rocket liftoff to the time of check-in with the recovered rocket. Basic rocket parameters would include: (a) a 3000 ft. target altitude; (b) a list specific motors to be determined; (c) dual-deploy, electronic recovery with motor-charge backup. All structural components and materials must be obtained from reputable high-powered rocketry vendors, or an engineering analysis demonstrating their suitability must be included with the design.

Equipment provided by WSGC: 
Rocket Motor Teams will use a Cesaroni 54 mm K454, K530, K400, K445 OR 38 mm J285, I540, J316, J357
Flight recorder Teams will be required to carry, on their rocket, a compact altimeter/accelerometer to be supplied the day of the launch (This is separate from the team's electronic deployment system and will be inserted at time of launch to record acceleration & altitude vs. time)
Rocket Limits Body Tube Diameter: Minimum 4 Inches,Maximum 6 Inches
Max Overall Length in Launch Configuration: 72 Inches

Additional details will be available in the competition handbook that will be made available.

Questions sent to the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium at will be answered on an individual basis and duplicate questions will be posted to a separate FAQ page.

Interested students with questions about the capabilities of the launch motors should access Those seeking help in getting started are highly encouraged to contact Frank Nobile ( or Bob Justus ( of Tripoli Rocket Association (a high-power rocketry association). Students interested in gaining information or experience by observing rocket launches are encouraged to contact these individuals, or to attend one of the regular rocket launches held by Tripoli at Bong Recreational Area. More information and launch schedules can be accessed at

More specific engineering parameters will be addressed once the teams are selected.

*Should there be any change in the specifications of the rocket or motor(s) to be used, an amendment to this announcement will be released. However, the current heightened state of alert in the United States may require an adjustment in launch specifications at short notice. Teams are therefore encouraged to be flexible and adaptable.

Other Competition Parameters

The total score for each student team will be based on the following: 

Design report (provided three weeks prior to launch) 25%
Presentation of design report, safety inspection 15%
Flight performance 40%
Predicted vs. actual results from on-board accelerometer 15%
Educational Outreach 5%

Design reports (including budget) will be judged by a panel of experts from aerospace and related fields (parameters of this report will be provided to participating teams upon selection). Students will also be required to give an oral presentation of their design report the day of the launch, including their predicted results for the accelerometer, and submit their rocket for a safety inspection. Determination of the score for flight performance will include the apogee nearest to 3000 feet. Subsequent to the flight, teams will be provided actual accelerometer results gathered in-flight for comparison to predicted results.

This year the competition includes an “Educational Outreach” element, in which each team shares information pertinent to aerospace with a group. For purposes of the competition, teams will be scored as "completed" or "not completed". Outreach possibilities could include but are not limited to:

  • Meet with a K-12 class or student organization to explain how rockets work.
  • Make a presentation in the community or to a group on campus to describe the rocket competition and your team’s design.
  • Make a presentation to a group on campus describing opportunities at NASA or through the WSGC that are available to students before they graduate.

Details on how to document that the outreach requirement has been met will be available in the competition handbook.

Applying to the Program

No experience is necessary to compete. Teams will be given the information required at a kick-off meeting following team selection.

For Advisors: NOI Application Form

Please create your NOI in a single file and include:

  • list of team members (names, emails, and notation of any prior rocketry or other relevant experience)
  • specify if your team is competing in engineering or non-engineering category (you must compete in the engineering category if 50% or more of team members are Engineering Majors)
  • industry mentor (if any)
  • statement of intent to submit a suitable rocket design and to abide by the parameters of the competition. Rockets should be designed and built by students; mentors should provide advice and guidance only.

For Students: After the advisor has applied using the application form link above, every student must fill out this form online, which includes uploading his or her resume, prior to the application deadline. The team's application is not considered complete until every student has applied online.

Before applying, please read the Additional Requirements.

After approval, please read What Recipients Need To Know.

Questions may be directed first to the WSGC Institutional Representative of the student's institution, and second to:

Program Office Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
Green Bay, WI 54311