UCSC Rocket Team to NASA SLI

The newly-formed Rocket Team at UCSC is among the few selected to compete in the Student Launch Initiative (SLI), an annual collegiate NASA rocketry competition held at the NASA Marshall Flight center in Alabama. The competition criteria are wide-ranging, involving technical challenges such as tracking objects on the ground with an onboard camera and reaching an altitude of exactly 1 mile. The team has risen to the challenge by building and launching She'll Be Right, the subscale version of the competition rocket.

Now that we've gotten our wings, the Rocket Slugs need your help to build the full-scale rocket and send our team to NASA!

Designing and building the rocket was a challenge that required months of effort from all of our members. Tasks included creating detailed computer models of the rocket, simulating its aerodynamic properties, shaping raw materials, assembling parts, modeling flight characteristics, and programming its onboard flight software.

The hard work paid off with a successful test launch in December. The 10-lb, 8-foot-tall rocket soared atop a thunderous red flame whose echoes bounced off the hills. The powerful J-class motor propelled the rocket with 130 pounds of force, accelerating the rocket to 11G. The rocket cruised stably to an altitude of 2,500 feet, reaching a top speed of over 330 mph. This launch proved that our rocket, with all of its onboard technology, is flightworthy.

The next rocket, Effective-1, will feature an active aerobraking system that uses complex computer algorithms to correct the rocket's flight profile in real time. This will allow us to precisely reach the goal altitude of 1 mile without overshooting. It will also have a set of more accurate sensors and other design changes. Our goal is to win the competition and be recognized by NASA.

Part of your donation will go directly toward the parts for this new and advanced rocket. The first $2000 will be spent building, testing, and flying the rocket.

The SLI competition is a week-long event held in April. Teams from around the country come to tour the NASA facilities, network with aerospace engineers, have dinner under the magnificent Saturn V rocket, and go head-to-head in the high-power launch competition.

This unique once-in-a-lifetime experience will immerse team members in internship opportunities and provide a summative capstone to a year of hard work. The rest of your donation will fund the travel expenses of 10 members, providing them with an exciting and transformative experience.

On behalf of the team, thank you! All of our donors will be featured on our website.

You can see how your donations are being spent on the team Facebook page.
  • Kevin Chu 
    • $50 
    • 42 mos
  • Mark Young 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Michelle Sanders 
    • $50 
    • 43 mos
  • Raymond Alves 
    • $200 
    • 43 mos
  • Robert Amos 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all


Zafar Rustamkulov 
Santa Cruz, CA
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