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Sun City Summit Rocket Team Soars in 2024 Spaceport America Cup

The+Sun+City+Rocket+Team+ventured+to+Las+Cruces%2C+New+Mexico+in+June+to+compete+for+the+third+time+in+the+Spaceport+America+Cup.
Israel Garcia
The Sun City Rocket Team ventured to Las Cruces, New Mexico in June to compete for the third time in the Spaceport America Cup.

The UTEP rocket team and many other schools set out to compete at the Spaceport America Cup in June, while also embracing the unknown due to the weather. After working all semester on their rocket launch, they anticipated launching on the third day of the competition.

The Sun City Summit Rocket Team was founded in 2021 at UTEP where they set out to design, build, test, and launch high-powered rockets. Their mission is to cultivate the skills of the student members through research and hands-on experience, which also sets students up for their careers after college.

This is the third year that the team will be competing in the cup, UTEP competed against New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, and New Mexico Tech in the Chili Bowl during 2022 and 2023.  The first time UTEP competed at Spaceport America in 2022, the overall winner was the University of Sydney, then Brigham Young University in 2023.

The rocket team has five sub-teams that each play an essential role in the rocket’s launch. These teams include Avionics, which oversees all electrical systems; Payload, which provides data on scientific merit; Propulsion, which provides the launch vehicle with safe, efficient, and reliable power during flight. The Recovery sub-team safely lands components, and Structural Aerodynamics designs and manufactures structural components, ensuring integrity during flight.

Andres Vicario, the team’s project manager said the team had high hopes of doing well as it entered the 30,000-foot category for the first time.

“There’s always going to be nerves throughout the team I know for most of us this is our first time will be competing, so the nerves are always going to be there, (but) being ready and having done things ahead of time always calms the nerves,” Vicario said.

Even with nerves building to exhibit their rocket, the team said that they were very confident in all the time, effort, and persistence they put into finishing this project.

Vicario said, “We are very confident that our rocket is going to do well, and I know for most of the subsystems that we have in a rocket we have passed experience from the last two years that we’ve been competing.”  

The team will be competing in the 30,000-foot event against big name universities such as Stanford, Texas Tech, and Ohio State.

“Honestly it feels great to be out here I know it has been a long year for most of us we’ve been working pretty hard for the last year and we’re all pretty excited to be out here getting ready to launch,” Vicario said.

After much time and preparation, the UTEP rocket team successfully launched on June 22. Further information on where the team will be placed in the event can be found on the Spaceport America Cup Website in the coming days.

Israel Garcia is the multimedia editor and can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Israel Garcia
Israel Garcia, Multimedia Editor
Israel is the multimedia editor and is a junior studying multimedia journalism with a minor in chicano studies. He enjoys sports photography/videography and is a contributor for Borderland Sports 915
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