Skip to content

Bethel University rocket society soars above Big Ten teams. Can they do it again?

  • by

Three engineering students from the Bethel University Rocket Society are preparing to launch their season and find new ways to take on their Big Ten rivals — and maybe take the gold again.

The team won the Midwest High-Powered Rocketry competition in May, where they were up against bigger schools across five different states including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa.

“We were definitely the smallest team,” said Nathan Engman, a second year student from Albertville, Minn. “We had the least amount of rockets at the competition.”

Not only did they have the smallest team, they also had only one advisor to assist them. Their competitors each had around eight rockets and more than 10 students with multiple faculty members for support, Engman said.

The team’s size was actually a factor in their success, said Ben Teigland, a first year student from North St. Paul. It forced them to be dependent on each other and form a closer team bond.

After competing against bigger schools, Teigland said team members were surprised when it was announced a month later that they had won.

“The Wisconsin Badgers team was that team where you walk in and you’re like, ‘OK, if they win I’m not going to be disappointed because they look like they know what they’re doing,'” Teigland said.

They said it helped that they didn’t know who they were competing against until the day before the competition.

“At first you see those names and you’re like, ‘Oh boy, what are we here for?'” Teigland said. “But then we got to see very fast how they interacted as a team and we started to feel like we’re not that far off from these guys.”

Unlike last season, when teams were only expected to get their rockets up in the air, this year’s competition theme is a “Precision Landing Challenge” where teams are expected to fly a rocket 3,000 feet in the air and have a parachute guide it toward landing is a target area.

The team’s volunteer mentor, Bethel alum Art Gibbens, said their goal this year is to increase the number of students involved and compete in larger and more challenging competitions.

“Long term, I think we’d like to go outside of Minnesota and do something bigger and more difficult because there are a number of other high-power rocket competitions,” Gibbens said.

Gibbens hopes the team will eventually participate in the Student Launch Initiative sponsored by NASA, where top colleges across the nation will compete with their rockets.

SATURDAY LAUNCH EVENT

Although the team has already doubled its size to six members this year, they are hoping to gather even more members at the Minnesota Amateur Spacemodeler Association launch this weekend. The event is scheduled for 8:30 am to 2 pm Saturday at the VFW Post 5518 in Otsego, where they will be launching non-competition rockets to showcase to the public.

“We’re just planning on flying and having fun,” said Alec Braun, a second year student from Annandale, Minn.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

BPISSUENEWS