Northwest Indian College, UM win tribal rocket honors

Final results have been posted from the 2011 First Nations national rocket competition held in May at the Richard Bong State Recreation Area near Burlington, Wis.

The “REZriders” team from Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, Wash., won top honors in the competition involving tribal college entries. In the “AISES” division for public and private institutions with student chapters of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the winner was the “Northstar” team from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

The annual competition is organized by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) headquartered on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Teams tested their engineering and rocket science skills. To have a successful flight, the rocket had to reach at least 2,000 feet and be recovered safely, in a flyable condition, as near as possible to a predetermined target. Rockets must carry a payload of some sort, and/or perform a mission. The flight itself is judged mainly by the degree of accuracy with which the college students predict their rockets’ altitude, trajectory and flight path, as measured by tiny flight-data recorders.

Competitions are judged by benchmarks at various stages along the way, preliminary planning and pre-flight procedures among them, with oral presentations to judges on the eve of the launch day at Bong.

Final results from the May 7 launch were not available for several weeks afterward, as participating teams are required to file written, post-mission reports. The top three in each division are as follows:

1st Place: Northstar, University of Minneosta-Twin Cities
2nd Place: Whiterabbit, Azusa Pacific
3rd Place: Ghostspears, Haskell Indian Nations University

Tribal College
1st Place: REZriders, Northwest Indian College
2nd Place: FDLTCC, Fond Du Lac Tribal Community College
3rd Place: Space Eagles, Haskell Indian Nations University

For photos of the launch day in May, click

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