The University of Louisville’s River City Rocketry intramural team took ninth overall out of 121 teams in the 2019 Spaceport America Cup international competition held in June in New Mexico.

“This is among schools that have been competing for years, or schools with aerospace programs, so we think this is a good start for us,” said team co-captain Taylor Hsieh.

It marked the first year of Spaceport America Cup competition for the rocketry team, which is based in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and made up of students from a variety of engineering disciplines (UofL does not have an aerospace program.).

In past years, the team competed in the NASA Student Launch, and won first place in that competition in 2017.

At Spaceport America, the 24-member UofL team took first place in the Space Dynamics Laboratory payload challenge and first place in the altitude award for predicting flight dynamics.

“We predicted to fly our rocket to 10,091 feet in altitude, and it flew 10,081 feet,” Hsieh said. “We’re extremely pleased by this, as the 99.9% accuracy at nearly 2 miles is the best we’ve ever done.”

Watch Spaceport America Cup launch here

Members of the team took their enthusiasm for rockets to the Kentucky Science Center on July 20 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The UofL students gave rocket demonstrations and talked about the history of spaceflight, “hopefully speaking with the Mars Generation,” Hsieh said on the team’s Facebook page.

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Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.