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Rocket Designed by FAMU Students Takes Flight and First Place
Florida A&M University (FAMU) Diamondbacks Rocket team wins the Altitude Award at this year’s NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) Competition. 

May 2, 2012

– T-minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1  The Altitude Award, one of nine prizes offered at the competition, is given to the team that launches a rocket closest to one mile without going over. The FAMU Rocket, affectionately known as Blue Diamond, reached 5270 feet, a mere 10 feet from one mile.  The competition, which was held at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala., brought together 53 teams from all over the U.S.

“I am very proud of the work the students did for this competition, said Allen, associate professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences and advisor for the team.  “Each member of the team played a vital role.”

NASA’s USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level, or AGL. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.

In addition to designing, building and testing the rocket, the students also developed an Android App to communicate with the rocket while it is in flight. The App could query the in-flight rocket from the ground for information such as velocity, temperature, pressure, and humidity. The rocket's onboard computer was programmed to send the information back to the App.

Members of the DiamondBacks Rocket Team were Ronald Benson, Jazzmine Bess, Marlena Ivory, Rodney Wilson, Anderson Louis and Dion Paul. Faculty Advisors were Clement Allen and Stacy Tinner.  Terry Zimmerman served as the rocket mentor.

“I believe the team and I learned that hard work, commitment and perseverance can produce results that are beyond not only what others expect of you, but even what you expect of yourself,” said Benson.

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