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University of Minnesota wins the Bayer-Big Ten Alka-Rocket Challenge


Alka-Rocket Winner



The University of Minnesota’s Rocket Team won the Bayer-Big Ten Alka-Rocket Challenge which was held on November 8, 2017. Undergraduate students Kevin Schrader, Jeffrey Guevara, Brody Hultman, and Machlen Polfliet represented the team in Texas at the Houston Space Center where they competed against Rutgers University and Northwestern University.

The winners of the challenge receives $25,000 and earn a place in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS record book for Highest Launch of a Rocket Powered by Effervescent Tablets, also known as an Alka-Rocket. “An Alka-Rocket is a model rocket often built using a 35mm canister and propelled by the chemical reaction that occurs when effervescent tablets are mixed with water.” This challenge was created by Bayer to emphasize the importance and need of science literacy and education throughout the country.

“The Alka-Rocket team feels very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to participate in this challenge. We always enjoy challenges, and this was no exception. When we heard about a competition which involved doing something that has never been done before and that we knew nothing about, we just had to do it!” says fellow team member Daniel Toth.

The opportunity to set a Guinness World Record does not happen very often. The team was honored to showcase their hard work while representing the University of Minnesota and being a part of a historic competition.

Creating their rocket was no easy task. Samuel Newell says “This project will utilize the pressure made by the reaction of dissolved alka-seltzer tablets in water to launch a rocket. Our unique design approach will hopefully lead to a product that achieves stellar results. The toughest part of the project was designing a fully functional recovery system without the use of ejection charges or an altimeter. This provided a unique challenge rarely seen in rocketry.”

The team will be donating the generous $25,000 to the University’s Rocket Team to help sponsor future opportunities to travel and compete.

In closing, Toth says “The Alka-Rocket Team would like to sincerely thank Bayer and the Big 10 for putting on this competition and providing an opportunity for challenge and growth for college students. We would also like to graciously thank the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE) for their support in our build process. Finally, we would like to thank the rest of the Rocket Team at the University of Minnesota for letting us use their facilities!
We truly couldn't have done it without the help of the kind and generous souls listed above. Thank you, and Ski-U-Mah!”

To see the launch, click here.






Last Modified: 2018-02-06 at 13:52:18 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation