U of M Rocket Team takes first place in Spaceport America Cup

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL  (June 30, 2023) —  The University of Minnesota’s Rocket Team headed back to Southern New Mexico earlier this month to compete in the annual Spaceport America Cup (SAC) competition. The international event, part academic conference and part design-build-fly style competition, brings together teams from around the world for the largest collegiate rocketry competition each year. The group from the U of M was one of 150 teams from 24 countries participating in the 2023 event.

Our pad crew setting up the rocket on the launch pad for the second day in a row.
The pad crew getting ready to set up the rocket on the launch pad.

The Team competed in one of the most prestigious and challenging categories in the competition; the Student Researched and Developed (SRAD) Solid category. The rocket, dubbed Crimson Stratus, was due to launch on the first day of the competition but the team was met with high winds and low clouds in the afternoon, forcing the pad crew to set up the rocket on the launch pad for a second day in a row. When the launch finally took place, Crimson Stratus flew 29,447 feet, carrying an 8.8 lb. payload on its full SRAD solid rocket motor. The rocket was then recovered around 3.5 miles away from the launch site without any damage.

It was worth the wait when the Team learned they had taken first place in the 30,000 ft SRAD Solid category, as well as achieving first place for the James Barrowman Award for Flight Dynamics for being the team to reach closest to the simulated apogee (maximum altitude), with a difference of just 0.18% (53 ft)! Not only that but the Team was also selected as a finalist for the Charles Hoult Award for Modeling & Simulation and was an overall finalist in the competition.


After two long days of driving from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Minneapolis, the Team arrived back at Akerman Hall and proudly displayed their newest additions to the Rocket Team’s trophy case.

The Team wishes to express their appreciation for all the help and guidance that has come from their supporters and the University as a whole! 

2023 Rocket team post SAC win
Arriving back at Akerman, post-competition and trophy in hand, the Rocket Team was all smiles.


SAC team photo
A final full-team photo with rocket, ready to bring out to the launch pad.


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