NASA Student Launch 2017





Received Excellence in Design Award


We are proud to announce our fully successful flight and recovery of Project Zaphod at the 2017 NASA Student Launch. The Akronauts participated in the NASA Student Launch competition from April 5th to April 9th Hosted by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The team was enthusiastic about participating in such a prestigious competition and to represent the University of Akron!

For this competition, Project Zaphod was tasked with reaching a precise altitude of 5,280 feet while carrying an unknown fragile object which was provided on launch day.

The fragile material given to us as a payload was a set of five clay pigeons which we successfully protected throughout the entire flight. In addition, we reached 5,135 ft only 145 ft off of our target altitude. A 100% fully successful flight, recovery, and payload is a first for the Akronauts and the University of Akron.


For a first in Akronauts history, the team challenged themselves with winding their own nosecone and body tubes made of fiberglass and carbon fiber. Check out a time-lapse of some of our members winding a fiberglass body tube at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.



The Akronauts were challenged to create a sanctuary within the rocket that could successfully protect an unknown fragile object during the rocket’s entire journey.

Due to the unknown composition and nature of the object, this proves to be an exceptional challenge. The team chose to create an enclosed capsule that has springs on the exterior of its forward and aft sides. Inside the capsule is an airbag device.

To test the reliability of the capsule, an uncooked egg was placed in the capsule during the test launch. The egg survived the entire flight!


The team once again challenged themselves with making their own parachute. As another first for the Akronauts, a Pull-Down apex was designed, fabricated and tested by the team. Check out the video below of testing a scaled down version of the parachute in a wind tunnel; it was tested in up to 100mph winds!


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