NASA Student Launch

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Welcome to the Illinois
Space Society’s NASA Student Launch Page


If you are interested in joining this project, please contact Stephen Vrkjlan at 



2016-2017 Competition

The NASA Student Launch Competition is a high powered rocketry edu_sl_hb_sm_2017-min-5competition with a focus on the rocket payloads. This year’s competition requires the ISS team to build a high-powered rocket that is capable of flying a mile high and landing safely. On top of that, teams can choose between three payload challenges: landing detection and controlled landing, roll induction and counter roll, and fragile landing for the coupler subsystem that contains the camera. The ISS team has chosen the first option, the landing detection, and controlled landing. This challenge will require the payload section to land vertically upright, apart from the other sections of the rocket. The competition will occur in Huntsville, Alabama, near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. ISS will be competing with groups from around the country in a weeklong event. To check out more about this year’s competition, check out the competition handbook. 




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Monthly Updates:


The Illinois Space Society team submitted their proposal for the 2016-17 NASA Student Launch Competition.


The Illinois Student Launch team was accepted into the competition. Throughout October, the team worked on initial design and prototyping of the landing system. Towards the end of the month, the team began to work on the Product Design Review (PDR) due mid-November.


The team submitted their Product Design Review as well as presented the design of the rocket and landing system to some of the NASA representatives. Next on the list was building and launching the subscale rocket.


With finals approaching, the team worked primarily on getting the subscale launched. Once the rocket was built, launch was set for the second week of December. Launch went smoothly. Towards the end of December, the team began work on the Critical Design Review (CDR) due mid-January.


The team has completed the CDR and is beginning work on the full-scale rocket. They plan on launching the rocket in March. The team has also been working on improving the tarp detection system and the landing legs.


The team continued working on the full-scale rocket and on their Flight Readiness Review.


The Student Launch team launched their full-scale high powered rocket at the beginning of the month close to Peoria, IL. The full-scale launch was successful, however, one of the landing legs broke due to high winds, so more work was done to improve the legs. The Student Launch team also submitted their Flight Readiness Review in March.


The ISS Student Launch team is working on getting the rocket ready for the 2017 Student Launch Competition in Huntsville, AL.