Although the Bethel University Rocket Club had been around for many years, it was revived in Fall 2021 by a handful of freshmen students. Last spring, the club picked up its second consecutive win at the Midwest Rocketry Competition, coming in ahead of the University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech rocket teams.
By Marcus Dip Silas
October 19, 2023 | 2 p.m.
Bethel University led the top placement of teams in the 2022-23 Midwest High Power Rocketry Competition for the second year in a row this year. Ben Teigland ’25 is one of the proud founding members of the current edition of Rocket Club at Bethel University, alongside Alec Braun ’25 and Nathan Engman ’25. Teigland’s responsibility was to design and assemble the on-board electronics, building a system that could gather multiple readings like acceleration, rotation, GPS, and pressure.
When he heard the results of the competition, Teigland felt both proud and relieved. He says that returning members Anabelle Linson ’26 and Max Huberty ’27 boosted the accomplishments of the club at the competition “Since we won last year, we had a lot of confidence going into this year. I felt we were established as successful engineers of high-powered rockets, and we proved that with the number of safe flights we got on competition day,” Teigland says. Bethel University’s Rocket club launched the most flights as a team, accounting for almost half of the total flights on competition day.
As for his feeling of relief, Teigland says that he is glad that the expectations new members had were not disappointed. “I was really hoping our new members could get the opportunity to feel what we experienced in our first year.”
Adding new members to the team has made it possible for the club to achieve more in a shorter amount of time. The club welcomed Connor Bertram ’26 and Kyle Melby ’26 this year. Keith Stein is the professor of physics and faculty advisor for the club. He is hopeful that the club can raise additional support to advance the High Power Rocketry certification levels of members. “Over the past year, we’ve had several team members who achieved level 1 and level 2 certification. We’re hoping that we can add more to our numbers at the club and take our team to the next level over a two-year period,” Stein says.
Stein also credits Alyssa Kontak for providing valuable support to the team in her role as Bethel University’s liaison for NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium.
According to Teigland, the goal is to expand beyond the Midwest and participate in national competitions. “It’s about to be a lot more work,” Teigland says. The team has its sights on the NASA Student Launch in Alabama and the Spaceport America Competition in New Mexico.