Rocketry team takes top prize in the state

July 30, 2014
Rocketry Team

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The Pioneer Rocketry team at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville bested nine other teams to take first place in the recent state competition, which was administered by the National Space Grant Foundation. The team advanced and finished fifth at the regional competition.

“Pioneer Rocketry’s purpose is to educate both students and faculty on the design, construction and flight of high-powered rockets,” said Trent Cybela, a senior mechanical engineering major from Brown Deer, Wis., and president of the Pioneer Rocketry team.

Cybela noted that the key to success at the state competition was control, not necessarily speed. “We needed to design a rocket which, through the careful balance of aerodynamics and electronic systems, would achieve an altitude of exactly 3,000 feet,” he said. “Teams who could achieve this task, while demonstrating their rocket’s ability to monitor flight parameters such as velocity, acceleration and g-force would win.”

The team won $5,000 for taking first place. That money will be used for team development, supplies, workspace improvement and education.

The current team includes 23 members, who meet one to two times per week and more during construction and flight testing. Cybela says they are always looking for new members. “A well-oiled rocket is a complex system, which creates a special opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration. We need mechanical engineers, software and computer, and civil engineers. We need chemists; we need business students, administrators and project managers, organizers and graphic designers.”

Written by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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