The Space Science and Technology Club (CCTE) team of the Faculty of Engineering of the National University of Asuncion (FIUNA) participated in the Latin American Space Challenge (LASC) in the 3000 meter solid propellant category.
The students received the Rick Machek Engineering Innovation Award for outstanding performance during data retrieval and transfer. The event is the world’s second largest experimental rocket and satellite competition, and was held at Cape Canavial, Tatuí Region, Brazil. FIUNA received £38,400,000 from the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt) through the Prociencia program supported by FEEI.
According to José Avalos, President of the Space Science and Technology Club of FIUNA, thanks to the preparation and dedication of colleagues and the support of college bodies, they were able to recognize engineering innovation in Paraguay.
“We made our competition debut with a successful trip in the highest category of the challenge. Despite all the odds, we proved that perseverance and preparation are very important. We are now aiming for the USA competition, where we want to participate and bring another award to the country.
For her part, student Katia Arico commented that as some problems arose, they saw a way to solve them as quickly as possible and in the best way. “I worked in the foundry department, and I learned how to make molds, which saved us because a problem arose, where the 3D printed coupling could not be supported, so we had to change it. Then we started casting the aluminum mold with our colleagues at three in the morning so that we could Change it.” In addition, the student also specialized in the use of fiberglass.
For his part, Kevin Amanti thanked his colleagues for the responsibility and commitment they all bore. In addition, he commented that one of the organizers, after seeing everything they had managed to do in one night, told them: “You are coming to win an award.” He said hearing that was an acknowledgment of their efforts.
While Anderson Barrientos commented that the best lesson he learned was that unity among colleagues is essential to achieving goals. “We needed many people for this work, we organized ourselves and distributed activities, each one cooperated from the area he was in. “We all pulled the same car in the same direction and that’s what earned us this recognition,” Barrientos said.
Likewise, Nicolas Lezcano emphasized that they received a lot of help from companies that showed interest in supporting them in the project and that this is a very good thing, as it can be seen how the private sector has become interested in science. “I started contacting companies that have supported us a lot with materials, and it is very interesting how they have shown interest in the project, and we hope that the private sector will encourage science further,” he noted.
All the students agreed that the most exciting thing was seeing the rocket take off, as all the work they had put in during the build-up to the competition was worth it when they saw the device rise into the sky. In addition, they highlighted the experience of seeing how other participants solved the same problems using different methodologies.
work as one team
Eng. Jose Cano, Director of Guidance at FIUNA, added that it is a matter of pride for all faculty members to see the students have achieved this important recognition. “These young men were working day and night to finish the missile. On launch day, due to adverse weather conditions, not all teams were able to launch their rockets in this category; However, our students managed to lift Urutau-I off the ground. This fills all FIUNA teachers with pride.
In turn, engineer Jorge Hiroshi Kurita Nagasawa, the youth’s official teacher, explained that the work done by the students is very meaningful, as they had to put many things aside to devote themselves to the Urutau-I project.
“Dedicating yourself to this is very difficult, it is easier to give up along the way; however, they committed to the project and left our country high. This participation brought not only knowledge to the students, but vision to the country, because this is what we need. He concluded: “ I am proud of these young people who gave everything they had and achieved an important reputation that made us known at the international level.”
Urutaú-1 is a solid-type afterburner rocket whose mission is to reach an altitude of about 3,000 meters with the greatest possible accuracy, in addition to deploying a mission responsible for measuring the flux of muons on the Earth’s surface.
Club members divided activities to cover all areas required for a project of this size, such as propulsion, fuel, avionics, recovery, telemetry, and others. It is worth noting that almost all of the aluminum used in the rocket structure was melted down by the team itself, resulting in the recycling of all kinds of discarded aluminum elements.
Before the launch, organizers subject the rockets to rigorous tests to ensure maximum safety for participants and spectators. The Paraguayan team had difficulty with this revision with the fins attached, but they were able to brilliantly adjust and adapt the support to the demands and on Sunday 27 August in the afternoon, after hours and hours of hard work and after waiting for weather conditions to improve, they launched the rocket.
Teams competing in the challenge must design and build their rockets aiming to reach an altitude of 500, 1,000 or 3,000 meters above sea level, and carrying a satellite or general payload.
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