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Go for Launch! NASA Names 11 Rocketeering Teams for 2007-2008 University Student Launch Initiative
Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

News release: 07-137

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA has tapped 11 college and university teams in eight states to "go for launch" in the 2007-2008 University Student Launch Initiative rocketeering challenge.

The annual challenge is designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, math and technology -- fields vital to NASA's ongoing mission in space and to the continued economic prosperity of the nation.

The University Student Launch Initiative was founded in 2006 as a sister program to NASA's rocket-building initiative for high school students. The initiative is hosted by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and state Space Grant Consortiums, with primary corporate sponsorship by ATK Launch Systems of Brigham City, Utah. Space Grant Consortiums are coalitions of state colleges universities and other institutions, funded by NASA to promote interest in technical careers through innovative space-related courses, real-world hands-on science and engineering programs and interactive outreach opportunities.

The challenge gives students hands-on, practical experience in managing aerospace and engineering projects similar to those found in a professional environment. Guided by Marshall Center engineers and their own science and math professors, the teams will spend eight months designing, building and launching rockets with built-in, working science payloads and a goal of flying to an altitude of 1 mile.

Participants this year include teams from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; Alabama A&M University in Huntsville; the University of Alabama in Huntsville; Harding University in Searcy, Ark.; Mississippi State University in Starkville; Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla; the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks; Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.; Vanderbilt University in Nashville; Utah State University in Logan; and the College of Menominee Nation in Green Bay, Wis.

"It's a pleasure and a privilege to invite these teams to participate in this year's challenge," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Marshall Center's Academic Affairs Office. "The University Student Launch Initiative is a vital part of NASA's education mission -- helping foster new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers."

Each team raises its own funds for the project and associated travel, or seeks sponsorship by local businesses or aerospace industry.

The 2007-2008 challenge will conclude in spring 2008, when the student teams gather in Huntsville for a final launch activity.