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Capitol Astronautical Engineering student projects aim for the skies…literally

Capitol Technology University

May 29, 2018


As summer 2018 approaches, a group of engineering and computer science students at Capitol Technology University is awaiting a NASA rocket launch that will take their project into orbit.

Another team of students, meanwhile, is celebrating an early milestone in their project: a successful balloon flight that demonstrated that things are in working order.

Both of these projects are examples of the “crawl, walk, run, fly” philosophy that drives the astronautical engineering program at Capitol – a school that emphasizes the importance of gaining practical experience in the field, in addition to learning concepts.

“We’re in the final stretch,” says Pierce Smith, lead engineer of the of the Cactus-1 student satellite project, with regard to the rocket launch. He and fellow project members are eagerly awaiting the moment when their payload – which includes two separate experiments – blasts off into space.

The student-designed experiments set to go into orbit include an aerogel-based approach to capturing space debris and a system for controlling satellites via the Iridium constellation.

As the Cactus-1 team was busy putting the final touches on their payload, members of the second team – known as Project Aether – traveled to the Maryland-Pennsylvania border and tested their handiwork during a two-and-half hour balloon flight.