NYU Tandon’s rocketry team goes nose cone-to-nose cone in national competition

Students holding homemade rocket

Tandon's Rogue Aerospace VIP Team 2020-2021 holding their rocket which won Overall Winner of the 2021 NASA Student Launch Design Division among other accolades.

If you’re going to create the biggest rocket you’ve ever attempted — more than 10 feet long and 6 inches in diameter — you might as well enter the most prestigious aerospace competition in the nation: the NASA Student Launch, an annual research-based initiative aimed at designing, building, and flying payloads or vehicle components that support Space Launch Systems.

This year, NYU Tandon’s Rogue Aerospace, a rocketry team that’s part of the Vertically Integrated Projects program, did just that, vying in the design portion of the competition. It was an audacious undertaking for a team that had been formed just a few years before.

The NASA Student Launch competition was divided into several stages: after an intensive proposal selection process, teams underwent a series of design reviews that mirror the NASA engineering design lifecycle, giving students an idea of what it would be like to be in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations workforce. Teams completed a Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Flight Readiness Review, and Launch Readiness Review, and at the end of that grueling process, Rogue had been named the number-two rookie team of the year 2021 and garnered first place in the Project Review Award category. The accolades for Rogue continued to accrue, and they were also named the Overall Winner of the 2021 NASA Student Launch Design Division — an honor that came with a $2,500 prize.

Rogue’s rocket had been designed to use a Cesaroni 2856L910-P motor that would allow it to deliver a payload to a target altitude of 3,900 feet, release it, and land safely. As per competition regulations, the payload was designed to separate from the rocket and land safely on its own, taking a 360-degree panoramic photo of the landing area.

“We’re looking forward to participating in the launch division next year,” said incoming president Herman Lin, who is taking the reins from team co-founder and recent alum Jefferson Hu. “While it’s obviously hard to complete practice launches in Downtown Brooklyn, we’ll go upstate for trials, and we hope to attract new members interested in earning their High-Powered Rocketry (HPR) certification.”

Professor Rakesh Kumar Behera, who advises the team, notes that there’s room for new members from all majors, since building rockets is a complex process that requires integration of ideas from various engineering disciplines while keeping safety as the top priority. “It was an amazing accomplishment for such a young team to be named the overall winner,” he said, “and that was possible only because of everyone’s enthusiasm, team spirit, and willingness to pitch in.”

Visit the Rogue Aerospace website    Apply to join the team

Rogue Aerospace congratulates its team members who graduated in 2021:

  • Amrutha Ajjarapu
  • Malika Baymuradova
  • Matthew Chang
  • Raisa Chowdhury
  • Yuewei Fu
  • Hafeza Hossain
  • Jefferson Hu
  • Liam Kaufer
  • Jeremy Kupupika
  • Jonathan Lin
  • Thomas Liu
  • Jesse Maloney
  • Mohamed Mbarouk
  • James Murdoch
  • Michael Russo
  • Marsha Setiawan
  • Hammad Siddiqui
  • Michael Thoreau
  • Jade Wang
  • Connie Zhou