Shattering the competition, U of M Rocket Team wins worldwide competition

Shattering the competition to bring home a first-place trophy, the University of Minnesota Rocket Team is now the reigning worldwide champion of the 2021 Spaceport America Cup.

The one-of-kind competition invites student engineers from all around the globe to launch their student-built rockets in the New Mexico desert. This year, the U of M Rocket Team won it all.

"There were 75 teams there from 17 countries from each continent in the world, except Antarctica, and we ended up being the overall winners and our team has never won an international competition like that before," Rocket Team Lead Patrick Collins said.

The win was a comeback for the team after the entire competition was called off last year because of the pandemic. They researched and built a 12-foot rocket that is 6 inches in diameter and weighs 123 pounds. The team was evaluated based on their technical reports and a 15-minute video presentation. This year the contest was virtual, but they were able to launch their rocket here in Minnesota.

"It’s just a huge thing for our team. We just started up over the last couple years and building our program up to a place where we can be essentially one of the best rocket teams in the world and is great," Collins said.

Not only is the competition a great, hands-on experience for U of M students, for many it also launches their future career in space science. Collins just graduated in May and just accepted a job in the aerospace engineering field.