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North Dakota State Triumphs in College Division of NASA's 11th Annual 'Great Moonbuggy Race' Saturday
Martin Jensen
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)
News Release: 04-088

Photo description: Winning college team from 11th annual Great Moonbuggy Race A team from Fargo, N.D., captured first place honors at the 11th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala. The team topped 26 other racers representing colleges and universities from 13 states and Puerto Rico. The team from Cornell University of Ithaca, N.Y, finished second and Arizona State University team one of Tempe placed third. In the high school division race Friday, a team from New Orleans Area High Schools in Louisiana placed first.

Image Above: The North Dakota State University team from Fargo captures first-place in the college division of 11th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC

For the second year in a row the team from North Dakota State University in Fargo led the field today in the college division of NASA's 11 th annual "Great Moonbuggy Race" in Huntsville, Ala.

North Dakota State's team one topped 26 othercollege and university teams from 13states and Puerto Rico with a winning time of 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Vehicles powered by two team members — one male and one female — raced one at a time over a half-mile obstacle course of simulated moonscape terrain at Huntsville's U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

In addition to the first place honor, the North Dakota State team earned a cash award.

The team from Cornell University of Ithaca, N.Y., finished second with a time of 4:23, while Arizona State University team one of Tempe placed third with a 5:20 time. Those teams received plaques, and all three winning teams received medallions and duffel bags bearing the Great Moonbuggy Race logo.

The award for Best Engineering Design went to the team from Utah State University in Logan.The "Most Unique" award also went to Utah State University for the use of carbon fiber reinforced composite material in their moonbuggy. A team from the University of Evansville in Indiana was honored with a special “Pits Award” for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems. Plus, a special "Crash and Burn" award, given for handling adversity, went to Cameron University of Lawton, Okla., for surviving the buckling of their moonbuggy while trying to negotiate one of the tough lunar obstacles on the course.

The event is inspired by the actual lunar roving vehicle project, which was successfully accomplished by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville during the 1960s and 1970s. NASA engineers then had the challenge to design and build a compact, light, flexible and durable vehicle that would carry astronauts on the Moon's surface during the Apollo missions.

The Moonbuggy Race is the culmination of a competition that challenges students to design and build a human-powered vehicle so they will learn how to deal with real-world engineering problems.

As they compete, the students are supporting the Vision for Space Exploration announced in January by President Bush. Building a racing buggy gives students hands-on experience that could pay off in fulfilling NASA's vision to return humans to the Moon and journey to Mars and beyond.

Sponsors of the event include the Marshall Center, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Alabama-Mississippi Section, Aerospace Development Center of Alabama, Morgan Research Corporation, Jacobs Sverdrup Technology and television station WHNT, all of Huntsville.

College teams included: Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; Alabama A&M University in Huntsville; Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Ind.; Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Ind.; Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.; Murray State University in Murray, Ky.; University of New Orleans in Louisiana; Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo.; Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.; Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.; University of Puerto Rico in Humacao; University of Tennessee in Knoxville; Christian Brothers University in Memphis; Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro; and University of Vermont in Burlington.

In the high school division race held Friday, featuring 22teams, a team from New Orleans Area Schools grabbed first place with a time of 4:14. Carlisle County High School of Bardwell, Ky., tied for second with Lafayette County High School team one of Higginsville, Mo. with a 4:40 time. A team from New Century Technology High School in Huntsville, Ala.,placed third with its time of 6:43.

The team from the Huntsville Center for Technology was awarded "Most Unique Buggy" for their lunar positioning and oasis system. The award for best moonbuggy design went to the team from Lafayette County High School, team one. A special "Pits Award" for ingenuity and persistence in overcoming problems was won by the team from Franklin County High School in Winchester, Tenn.

Photos of the top-finishing college teams are available on line at the Marshall Newsroom:

Photos of the top-finishing high school teams are available on line at the Marshall Newsroom:

For more information about the "Great Moonbuggy Race" visit the Web site at: