Alex Sanducu, Zack Clark, and Michael Mahoney from Rutgers University, Rutgers Rocket Propulsion Lab were on their way to Spaceport America Cup, an annual event called Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition, when they landed at FUSE Makerspace. All three have found makerspaces instrumental in making rocketry within their grasp. Michael stated that makerspaces reduce the barrier of entrance for amature rocketry. Places like FUSE allow people to access tools that they could not otherwise afford on their own.
The team had been working on their rocket for months that they launched on June 22 at the IREC competition at Spaceport America. Their entire project is student designed and fabricated and they planned for the rocket to reach 10,000 ft and hit Mock 1.07. All electronics, 3-D printing, CNC routing, and laser etching were used to create the rocket. They also worked with industry grade materials from a fiberglass manufacture in Colorado Spring, CO to fabricate body structure of the rocket. On June 19th at FUSE Makerspace the team fabricated the bulk heads. They were unable to be obtained the parts needed at their local makerspace due to calibration of machine and time allotted before they had to hit the road to the competition.
Driving across country Alex started researching makerspaces along the road. They found the FUSE website when they were passing through Missouri and decide this was the most comprehensive makerspace the fit their needs. It was a bonus that FUSE was not far from their final competition destination. The team decide to spend the day in Albuquerque to make the final adjustments to the rocket before launch.
Marty Bonacci, FUSE Program Manager, was the first person the guys met as they walked in the door. He gave them a tour of the space and asked them what their interest was in making. Within 15 minutes Marty had the guys signed up for memberships and testing out on the ShopBot to make the improvements on their rocket. By coming to FUSE the team was able to make their rocket with the right materials, right tools, and the right way for research purposes. The Rutgers Rocket Propulsion Lab team ended up winning the Sprite award for their enthusiasm and ingenuity towards reaching their goal of launching their rocket at Spaceport America.