The WPI High Power Rocketry Club's entry for the 2022 Spaceport America Cup blew up a little less than halfway to its 10,000-foot goal earlier this summer, but the team still found rewards amid the debris that fell out of the Southern New Mexico sky. In fact, it was the failure of the 12-foot-long solid-propellant rocket that ultimately proved as valuable as any trophy.
“It’s part of the whole discovery process,” said team captain Kevin Schultz ’23. “We have to figure out what this is. It’s a lot like solving a mystery, and as engineers, we really do enjoy that.”
HPRC’s 24-person travel team—part of a 135-member-strong club—joined 1,300 other participants, representing 150 student teams from 95 higher education institutes and 16 countries at this year’s competition, held June 21-25. The competition calls for teams to construct a rocket and shoot it into “space” while carrying a small payload and is considered a premiere recruitment opportunity for sponsors, which this year included Sierra Space, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic.