50 Years after Apollo Launch, SJSU Students Launch Rockets and Study Space Flight

Since February 2018 the Areospace Engineering department has supported a student-created program named HARP (High Altitude Rocketry Program) that operates within the SJSU Rocket Club. The club's goal is to expose our Engineering students (both undergraduate and graduate) to the design from the ground up of small rockets and their launch.

This is a unique opportunity to apply theories explored in upper-division courses to the design of real-life aerospace systems and subsystems. HARP's first rocket, HARP UNO, presented a real challenge for both students involved (and myself as advisor). Its mission objective was to reach over 100,000 feet and establish a name and foundation for the student organization. In order to reach the prescribed altitude, HARP UNO needed to be a two-stage rocket, a requirement that presents a non trivial increase of technological complexity: more complex rocket dynamics, the need for multiple sensors for telemetry purposes, and a decoupling mechanism just to name a few. 

The rocket launched on November 2018 from Friends of Amateur Rocketry in the Mojave Desert, and although it had an off-nominal flight, the team gained invaluable skills and HARP established a name, providing a foundation for the future. HARP DUE (Two in Italian), which was initiated in February 2019, is taking a more conservative approach and is meant to solidify the fundamentals. Through involvement in HARP, our students are learning both the theory and the fundamental practices at the base of space flight. 

Read more about HARP.
Read our magazine article about the HARP UNO Launch.