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Project Maverick
Press Release

Aero Students Celebrate
End of Academic Year with Rocket Launch

By Matt McKeown

Nine members of the student group Michigan Aeronautical Science Association (MASA) finished the 2005/2006 school year and their group's third year of existence in grand fashion by launching a 8 foot tall rocket off the shores of Muskegon, Michigan. The launch was part of the "Michigan Aerospace Challenge" which is annually put on by the Muskegon School District. The Michigan Aerospace Challenge introduces elementary through high school students to applied science and engineering practices. MASA was asked to help judge the elementary and high school rocket competition flights and to give a demonstration flight. Michigan's CANSAT team also participated in the event. CANSAT is a design competition to build a soda-can-sized telemetry device and is done in conjunction with the Student Space Systems Fabrication Lab (S3FL). The CANSAT team wanted to test their telemetry system during a launch and recovery of a rocket and MASA was there to offer a ride.

The first day of the Michigan Aerospace Challenge launch involved judging the elementary school projects and making sure their rockets were properly constructed. In some cases last minute repairs were needed, but most of the flights were successful. After the rocket event, the MASA team prepared their rocket for a launch the following day.

Evan Smith and Nate Taylor with their team of rocket scientists.

MASA's rocket, "Maverick," is their third completed vehicle project. Maverick was constructed using carbon fiber and fiberglass and is the booster for a future two stage rocket that is projected to attain an altitude in excess of 40,000 ft. The flight in Muskegon was only a test flight, so the projected altitude was about 4,000 ft. Even though the altitude wasn't an extreme design challenge, Lake Muskegon covered the majority of the recovery area. Therefore, the main design challenge for this flight was the rocket needed to have enough water tight sections so that it would float while still having a way to sample the atmosphere for get flight data. Maverick was built in approximately 3 months and its final flight weight was about 18 pounds. On board the rocket were two flight computers to log vertical acceleration and altitude. The computers were also in charge of deploying the parachutes for a safe recovery. The third payload on Maverick was the CANSAT project.

Kip Daugridas, Joan Ervin, Jordan Hughes-Buckley, and Jeff Moss Give a final Post-Flight inspection.

Also in attendance at the launch were: Jeff Lydecker, Matthew McKeown, Evan Smith, Nate Taylor, and Jim Wojcik .

On the second day of the Aerospace Challenge, the MASA team judged the high school competition and lugged Maverick and the rocket out to the launching area. After the high school flights were completed, it was MASA's turn. The launch was perfect and Maverick attained a top speed of 350 mph and altitude of 4,400 ft. The only hitch was that after all the planning for a water landing; the wind carried the rocket to the other side of the lake and made a "Beach Landing." The rocket was recovered undamaged and most of the team was glad the sea worthiness testing wasn't nessesary.

The MASA team had a great experience at the Michigan Aerospace Challenge and has been asked to participate in the event again next year.

The group MASA was founded in 2003 and since that time has conducted several rocket motor test firings, designed, built and flew three vehicles and constructed composite structures for other student groups. The main focus of MASA is to give Michigan Aerospace and other engineering student's hands on experience and to do research in composite structures and hybrid rocket motor propulsion. For more information on the club, see their website at: <>