2017-2018 Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocketry Competition

Pictured above: 2016-17 Virginia Tech (far left), 2016-17 UW Platteville (middle left), Kent State (middle right), and Normandale CC (far right).


The Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC) announces its intention to run a Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition (formerly called the Space Grant Midwest Regional Rocket Competition and previously run by the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium) during the 2017-2018 academic year. This competition will be held in the midwest but is open to college/university student teams from across the nation. This competition is an opportunity for students to design and construct custom high-power rockets to be launched in May of 2018 from a Tripoli MN launch site near North Branch, MN, about a one hour drive north of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

In this competition student teams will design and construct a “roll-orientable” single stage high-power rocket system (dual deploy optional) that will fly twice on the same I-class or J-class motor and be recovered safely and in flyable condition. The students must implement a roll-control mechanism (without using canards) that can minimize roll (on the first flight) then follow a set of commands to roll to a series of specific orientation angles then hold each orientation for 1 second (on the second flight). Students must construct a non-commercial on-board data-logging sensor package that can log roll orientation (at least) at 10+ Hz, for comparison with orientation as documented by a downward looking video camera. Bonus challenge: Implement an XBee-radio-based communication system so that the orientations requested can be reprogrammed at a distance and so that orientation data (and possibly other sensor data) can be sent down to a ground station by radio while the rocket is still in flight. More points for teams able to control roll and hold orientation effectively. More (bonus) points for teams able to send commands and data through their communications system quickly and reliably.

Logistical questions may be directed to James Flaten, MN Space Grant, U of MN, flate001@umn.edu.
Technical questions may be directed to Gary Stroick, Tripoli MN, president@offwegorocketry.com.





  1. September 26, 2017, 7 to 8 p.m. CST (repeated January 18, 2018, 7 to 8 p.m. CST): Informational telecon — contact James Flaten for call-in information
  2. October 2, 2017: Obtain own state’s Space Grant “sponsorship” and submit “Notice of Intent to Compete” letter (all teams, even those not starting to work till winter/spring)
  3. January 31, 2018: $400 Registration Fee due (must pay more (later) if the two motors selected cost over $100 total)
  4. January 31, 2018: Date by which all judges should be identified. Each state sponsoring more than one team needs to provide ONE judge. States may bring a judge from their own state or work with Gary Stroick or Tripoli MN to identify a local person to serve this role.
  5. May 19-20, 2018 (Saturday/Sunday): (Afternoon/evening) oral presentations and safety checks (first day) then all-day launch competition plus evening social event (second day)
  6. May 21, 2018 (Monday): Alternate (weather delay) launch date


Document archive for 2017-2018 “Roll-Orientable” competition

Announcement of Competition (circulated September 1, 2017):

Competition promotional flier:

Handbook for Competition:

Slides for Informational Telecon:

Q and A documents:

(Non-Binding) “Notice of Intent to Compete” Template (due Oct. 2, 2017, mail form to James Flaten at flate001@umn.edu):

Reports by a past year’s winning team (from U of MN – Duluth) – optional reading:

Instructions for paying the $400 Registration fee, due January 31, 2018:

MODIFIED “Notice of Competition Attendance” Template (due Feb. 9, 2018, mail form to James Flaten at flate001@umn.edu):

Information about hotels and camping options, plus stores (like hardware stores) and other “local attractions”