Society for Advanced Rocket Propulsion

SARP 2019 Press Release

SARP Wins 2019 Spaceport America Cup
LAS CRUCES, NM – The University of Washington student rocket engineering team recently competed and won an international collegiate rocket competition. The Spaceport America Cup (SAC), a competition which sees more than 120 teams participating from 13 countries, is held annually at Spaceport America, a launch site for aerospace companies like Virgin Galactic and UP Aerospace.
Every year, the 150+ students on the Society for Advanced Rocket Propulsion (SARP) team design, manufacture, and test every subsystem on a 14-foot hybrid rocket that is launched in the New Mexico desert. SARP won in both its division, the 30,000-foot apogee student researched and developed hybrid rocket, and the overall judge’s choice award. This is the second time that SARP has won its division, beating out the University of Waterloo, but the first time that it has brought home the highest honor, the Spaceport America Cup.
Despite suffering a propulsion system failure merely weeks before the competition, SARP rallied to complete re-manufacturing of key components and bring a wholly functioning rocket 1,500+ miles south to New Mexico. The first day of rocket assembly in the desert on-site yielded multiple issues with heat tolerance of avionics, with daytime temperatures soaring to 99F by late morning. However, by the end of the second day, all essential electronics were swapped out with spares and the rocket was certified to be flight-ready. After several precarious hours of troubleshooting of the remote fueling/launching system in the morning, the team successfully filled the rocket’s oxidizer tank and safely issued a launch command from over 2000 feet away. The rocket, named Moondawg, successfully ejected parachutes and carried a payload after reaching an apogee of 17,000 feet above ground level (AGL).
Though the rocket did not meet the category’s target altitude, a multitude of factors helped push Moondawg to victory over the 90+ teams that successfully launched. A cutting-edge plasma actuator payload led by A&A Senior James Ferrese led to on-the-spot job offers from Raytheon and Northrup Grumman after its presentation, and Moondawg was the only rocket in its category to successfully recover post-launch in the most difficult division of the competition.
Though SARP is humbled by the award, it intends to continue advancing its projects further next year. Currently in development is a liquid bipropellant engine, which will hope to soon see flight for the first time. SARP’s leadership team is confident that their successors will develop the team even further, developing better rockets to fly even higher.
SARP thanks all the faculty, family, staff, and supporters whose generous contributions and expertise made this all possible.

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