UTC’s student rocket team—the Rocket Mocs—are the No. 1 team in the country, the first time a team from the university has reached those heights.
Formed in January, the six-member team from the College of Engineering and Computer Science launched a rocket to 11,563 feet, a figure that drew a room-wide gasp when announced earlier this month at the awards ceremony for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Rocketry Contest. The team placing second only hit 6,635 feet.
A second gasp came immediately after when attendees were told that the UTC rocket—named Phoenix—reached a maximum speed of 1,294 mph.
But claiming No. 1 was more than just big numbers, says team member Ashwyn Sam, a senior in mechanical engineering and math and a member of the Honors College.
“While this was a great academic achievement, it was more importantly an achievement of courage, hope, perseverance and friendship, too,” he said.
Winning can make things easier in the future to recruit students for Rocket Mocs as well as the college itself, says team advisor Trevor Elliott, assistant professor in mechanical engineering.
“We now have a university-recognized club that will start recruiting freshmen and sophomores so that we’ll have kind of that continuity,” he says. Current team members can work with the newcomers and “help them learn it as they come up.”
As for this year’s team, he says they earned the title through dedication, long hours and hard work.
“They put their all into it, so they deserved getting to go, they deserved getting to have those other teams, that respect of those teams.”