Rocket Team at UCSC

We are the Rocket Team at UCSC (yes we have a rocket team) and we're raising funds to help our mission of making our own rocket to participate in the NASA SLI competition!

Our club is small and relatively new, but we're dedicated and are united  by our love of all things rockets. The reason we're trying to raise money is for our competition in Alabama during early April. In the first couple weeks of April our team will hopefully be participating, along with dozens of other university teams from across the country, in a rocket competition at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. We have already designed, built and launched our subscale rocket, Take Me Home, a 7ft tall carbon fiber rocket that went almost 1/2 mile into the sky. Since then, we have been working tirelessly on designing, building, testing, and improving our fullscale rocket, a 8ft tall carbon fiber rocket to win the competition set forth by NASA. A little about some of the components we have on our rocket:

Our payload will be a fully autonomous rover stored in the upper portion of our rocket. In addition to flying with the rocket to an altitude of exactly 1 mile, the rover will be responsible for safely deploying itself on signal from our ground team. Simulating the challenges faced by a NASA mission to Mars, the rover will then drive itself 10 feet navigating across terrain and around obstacles to collect a small soil sample. Taking inspiration from NASA's curiosity rover, after securing the soil sample our rover will play an EDM remix of Country Roads from the on board speakers and spin wheelies in place while waiting for retrieval.

                                                                                   Adaptive Aerobraking System
One challenge in the competition is to get as close to a chosen altitude as possible, and we chose 1 mile. To help us meet this technical challenge our team has developed retractable fins built into our rocket. Launching with the rocket, the fins will be controlled by an on board microcomputer taking in a constant data stream from on board sensors. This feedback and our PID control algorithm then actuate our fins, changing the drag force on our rocket and therefore speed and final altitude of our rocket.

Our rocket is made using a carbon fiber body with generous donations from local companies and other clubs at UCSC. With a strength to weight ratio over 6 times that of steel, our rocket is one of the lightest in the competition. Our unique removable fin design also helps us to maintain a high degree of aerodynamic efficiency.

The final component is recovery. Recovery is responsible for the deployment of the parachutes, and safe recovery of the rocket. They use two altimeters that record the altitude of the rocket and then deploy the smaller, drogue, parachute at apogee. Then, at about 600ft, the larger, main, parachute is deployed and the rocket lands safely on the ground.

We're asking for donations to help us cover our team costs for the competition such as:
Costs of building our own homemade rocket and the associated components
Team travel costs to and from our launches and the competition

Help us reach our goal of $5,000 and get our team of 20+ men and women to NASA!


  • Bruce Fowler 
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • David Choi 
    • $45 
    • 10 mos
  • Rebecca Holzschuh 
    • $30 
    • 10 mos
  • Danielle Romo 
    • $15 
    • 10 mos
  • Asena Uyar  
    • $20 
    • 10 mos

Fundraising team: Rocket Team at UCSC (6)

Gavin Chen 
Raised $15 from 1 donation
Santa Cruz, CA
Duncan Bark 
Olivia Wong 
Team member
Raised $165 from 3 donations
Judah Luberto 
Team member
Mary McNeil 
Team member
This team raised $30 from 1 other donation.
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