College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

CyLaunch M:2:I team heads to national competition with unique 3D-printed rocket

CyLaunch stsudent team with rocket - publicity photo

CyLaunch stsudent team with rocket - publicity photo

All systems are “go” for The Department of Aerospace Engineering’s CyLaunch student team in in Huntsville, Alabama, taking part in the NASA Student Launch Competition. The team is part of the department’s Make to Innovate (M:2:I) program.

CyLaunch rocket test launch liftoff
The 3D-printed CyLaunch rocket pierces the sky in a test launch.

The NASA competition runs through Saturday, April 13, when CyLaunch looks to conduct their final launch. They’re part of 70 teams from 24 states and Puerto Rico taking part in this year’s event.

The team crafted a nine-and-a-half-foot tall rocket that was entirely 3D printed from PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol). Their rocket is unique in this way because most high-powered rockets are built with other materials like fiberglass and Blue Tube, a military-grade construction material.

CyLaunch’s goal is to “Develop a rocket that leads to innovation in the use of 3D printed material in high powered rocketry,” said project manager Katherine Jacobson.

The team is is made up of 18 Iowa State College of Engineering undergraduate students who are aerospace, mechanical and computer engineering majors. As part of M:2:I, the core concept is to learn skills like teamwork, leadership and solving engineering problems that they haven’t previously encountered.

The timeline for participation in the competition is actually a nine-month long process. Along with the rocket, the team has crafted a quadcopter for the payload portion of the competition. To qualify for the competition CyLaunch had to successfully complete a full-scale flight of the rocket and payload.

“This project is sponsored in part by the Iowa Space Grant Consortium under NASA Award No. 80NSSC20M0107.

The April 13 competition in Alabama will be streamed live. CyLaunch is currently scheduled to launch at 9:30 a.m. CDT.