A group of college students, including three Northeastern University Huskies, are attempting to beat the record for highest altitude ever reached by a rocket created by students. “Operation Space” will launch their rocket this August. Their goal is to reach 150,000 feet, and possibly the Kármán line, the border between Earth's atmosphere and outer space.
Since May, members of Operation Space have collaborated remotely to design the rocket, research components, and order necessary parts. The rocket will be assembled in Bethpage, NY this July at the former Grumman production facility, the same hangar where the original lunar module was built.
The team began when Operation Space founder Joshua Farazad contacted Eliana Berger, DMSB/COS'22. Together, they built a team of aerospace engineers, business leads, and developers.
By June 1, the final roster included 40 students from a variety of U.S. universities and high schools, who were divided into business and technical teams.
Berger is joined by fellow Northeastern students Keith Corso, DMSB'21, and Hugh Ferguson, DMSB/CCIS'21. As members of the business team, they are responsible for fundraising $20,000 by July.
Although the students must secure their own money for the mission, the team is currently being sponsored by SpaceX, a private design company that manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecrafts.
“SpaceX actually likes our project so much that they not only agreed to support us financially, but we also get to conference with their engineers,” Berger said.
In addition to collaboration from SpaceX, DS SoldWorks, a spatial software and design company, gave each technical member of the team free design software to simplify interactions between the development teams.
So far, the team has raised $5,000, enough for materials to launch a single rocket. The goal at this point though, is to launch two in order to increase their chances of beating the record.
Operation Space has also leveraged its team member's internships and research related to NASA.