ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An all-female team of budding rocket scientists from the University of Alaska Anchorage is gearing up for a national competition.
Danica Mike, left, works with UAA Rocketry Club mentor David Erickson to prepare her rocket for launch.
The UAA Rocketry Club, including six team members, has to pass pre-requisites in order to compete in NASA’s Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition in Minnesota in May.
Team member Danica Mike, 34, passed her Level-1 National Association of Rocketry Certification after a successful rocket launch Saturday afternoon. This milestone allows her to legally order rocket motors, and is something all six team members had to complete before qualifying for the competition.
“It held up pretty well. It’s still very structurally sound,” Danica said with a smile after retrieving her rocket. “It did everything it was supposed to do.”
Danica is originally from Kotlik, Alaska, and her mother Theresa who came to watch the big launch on Saturday said her daughter’s scientific prowess has its foundations in Yup’ik heritage.
“Alaska Native People, we’re inventors and creators. We use our natural resources a lot,” Theresa said. “With her as a rocket scientist, it seems to expand more on the knowledge that we’ve learned.”
According to the competition website, each team designs and constructs a rocket with the capability of exceeding the speed of sound. Each rocket flies a total of two times, and is compared to other rockets based on maximum altitude, speed, acceleration, parachute-assisted landing and more.
UAA rocketry team members are currently building the rocket they will launch in the competition. Before competing in Minnesota, the team will have a trial launch to make sure their rocket is ready to go. That will take place in Lake Louise sometime in the coming week.