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21-22 NASA Student Launch Competition

Support the 49er Rocketry Team today. To date, $9,891 has been raised from 56 gifts.

Huntsville is right around the corner!

April 12, 2022

Good afternoon all!

It has been awhile since the last update so let's dive right into it!

Flight Readiness Report

The team had the FRR due to NASA on March 7th with the presentation being March 14th! The team received an outstanding grade of 89.14%, being the highest score the team has received so far! This milestone included data from the team's Full-scale test flights! The team conducted three Full-scale flights with payload integration on each of those flights. Each flight had its successes and the team continued to push through any challenges faced to end up with a competition ready launch configuration! Some images from the Full-scale flights can be seen below!

NC Space Grant Symposium

One of the team's sponsors, NC Space Grant, held a symposium this past Friday with speakers from all sorts of STEM fields. Some companies represented during the symposium were: NASA Langley Research Center, Virgin Orbit, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Planetary Geology, NASA Ames Research Center, and the United States Space Force! The team was asked to provide a short video highlighting what the team does in this competition that would be shown in between speakers. If you would like to view this video, please do so at the link below! The team is very grateful to have NC Space Grant as one of the sponsors and for the opportunity to be a part of this years Symposium!

Link to video:

Competition Flight

The team is beyond excited to travel to Huntsville and compete against all of the other colleges in the competition! All of the hard work finally coming together for the final competition flight! The team will be traveling to Huntsville, AL on April 19th, with the competition launch taking place on April 23rd! There should be a livestream of launch day that the team will provide an update on to ensure all of you can view the team that you have been supporting all year! 

Launch Vehicle Naming

The time has come for all eligible donors to suggest/vote on a name for this years launch vehicle! The first survey that is linked below will be the preliminary survey before final voting occurs. If you are eligible to suggest a name please visit this link and fill it out before Friday this week! This weekend we will all vote on the name of the vehicle!

Survey Link:

The team would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this competition! We hope to bring home another 1st place victory! 

It’s been awhile…

February 07, 2022

Hey everyone!

It’s been awhile since the team’s last update so let’s get right into it! The team has completed: Several sub-scale launches, submitted and presented the Critical Design Review to NASA, done many tests of the payload, and we are finally gearing up for the first full-scale launch this upcoming weekend.

Sub-scale Vehicle:

The team had a rocky road with the sub-scale launches, with some unsuccessful flights, launches being cancelled, and finally some successful launches. The team learned a lot from the sub-scale rocket and directly implemented those learnings into the full-scale vehicle. Below are some photos of the team with the sub-scale vehicle. 


The Critical Design Review was due to NASA on the 3rd of January, with it being another 250 page document with a presentation and the fly sheet. The addition to this milestone was to provide NASA with a high quality satellite image of the launch field that has the team’s grid system overlaid on it. The team was able to get everything done in time for submission and presented to NASA on January 10th. The scores from the CDR will be sent out some time this week to the team. The average score of the CDR was a 62%, with a standard deviation of ~10%. This average is lower than that of the PDR, with the average being a 67%, with a standard deviation of ~9%. For PDR the team scored an 86%, so we’re all hoping for a good CDR score!


Progress on the payload has been coming along very well! The computer engineers on the team are working hard on the code as well as the PCB’s for the payloads electronics. The mechanical engineers on the team have been refining the payload structure and testing the material properties of various sections of it. Testing of the gimbal system have been conducted using a UNCC students drone to attempt to simulate the movement of the payload as the vehicle is descending. Pictures from these tests as well as some progress photos of the payload can be seen below.

Full-scale Vehicle:
Finally, we have the progress on the full-scale vehicle. The vehicle team has been hard at work since the fall semester ended, constructing the entirety of the full-scale vehicle. Our 100” rocket is just about ready for launch! The only remaining preparations are to finish cleaning up some of the fins and to drill the remaining pressure holes. The team is very excited to be launching it this weekend in Dalzell, SC! If there is anyone who is interested in attending this launch please reach out to Chase and he will provide any needed information! Below are some photos of the full-scale rocket construction.

Thanks again for your support! Go NINERS!

PDR Presentation Complete! Sub-scale Rocket On the Way!

November 04, 2021

The 49er Rocketry Team has completed their PDR presentation! Chase Atherton, Caitlin Bunce, Sarah Vitarisi, Daneil Naveira, Joseph Petite, and Corey Drummond were the speakers for this presentation. They were able to present our hard work and designs to NASA within their 30 minute time constraint while still being able to give proper explanation to everything within the presentation. From NASA's questions and feedback, our team is on track for success! 

PDR Presentation Speakers

PDR Team Photo

Following the completion of the presentation, the team has now shifted into the building of the sub-scale rocket! We had our Vehicle Lead, Caitlin Bunce, work with a rocketry team alumni to cut out our carbon fiber bulkheads and centering rings on the water jet cutter. We also had some help from an underclassman on cutting down our carbon fiber airframes to the correct dimensions. We are getting very close to our sub-scale launch and hope to share with you all the success we have from it! Thank you for your continued support, and GO NINERS!

We're Over 50% of the Way There!

October 17, 2021

A huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far! You all have gotten us past the 50% mark for this campaign and the team is beyond thankful! Let's keep pushing towards that goal! GO NINERS!

The team has been working very hard to get all of our designs and ideas PDR ready! The PDR is our Preliminary Design Review that is due to NASA November 1st. Parts for our sub-scale rocket have been ordered and we will be assembling that very soon! 

In the past weeks the team has completed a handful of outreach events! We had our vehicle team present to the rocketry club about the design process of the rocket and what is done to ensure a stable flight, straw rockets were done with middle schoolers to show them the basics of rocketry and how fin shape and nose cone shape effect the flight profile, and finally we facilitated the Explore Charlotte event here on campus to show potential engineering students what kind of machinery we have in our lab as well as what we do as the rocketry team. Images from these events can be seen down below. 

Figure 1: Vehicle Presentation

Figure 2: Straw Rockets

Figure 3: Explore Charlotte

Almost Half Way There!

October 04, 2021

We're almost half way to our goal! Thank you to everyone who has donated towards this years competition team! 

The team is preparing for their first teleconference with NASA on the 7th of October. This teleconference acts as the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) Q/A session. The PDR is the teams next big document to NASA, being accompanied by a full presentation that will be given to NASA in the last few weeks of November. 

Our Vehicle Team will be beginning the construction of the sub-scale rocket in the upcoming weeks! The team is very eager to get into the hands on portion of the project! The Payload Team has also been gathering a components list to start testing different sensors to see which ones may be more suitable for our mission. To prepare for this construction stage, some team members rearranged our workspace in MSR to better suit the tasks that will be completed. Each sub-team now has their dedicated sections in the workspace so work can be completed more efficiently. 

October 1st was this years engineering picnic where many companies come to campus seeking out potential candidates for employment. One of the companies that were present at this years picnic was NAVAIR. NAVAIR is an important part of the maintenance, engineering, and logistical support for Naval and Marine aircraft. Several team members attended this picnic and spoke with NAVAIR, with a couple of members receiving on the spot job offers. Below is a photo from this years picnic with a few team members standing with Lance Tucker, a former NAVAIR recruiter who now works for LTM. 

More updates are prepared for the upcoming weeks so please keep an eye out for them! Again, the team thanks everyone who has shared our page or has donated! Your support truly helps us out in this competition. And as always, GO NINERS!


2021-2022 Proposal has been Submitted!

September 20, 2021

This year's proposal to NASA has just been submitted! The team accumulated~1500 hours towards the proposal and is looking forward to the rest of this competition! 

For some background information the proposal, it is our entry ticket into the competition! The team was given the requirements for the competition from NASA on August 18th and had until September 20th to submit it. The proposal to NASA is a long documentation of all the ideas ad designs the team has come up with over the course of those 1500 hours. The proposal included CAD, Schematics, Calculations, and Safety Guidelines. The team was able to receive much appreciated feedback from our past rocketry alumni to help get our document submission ready! Our alumni play a major role in continuing the success this team has had in the past and we hope to live up to their past success! 

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