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University of Minnesota Rocket Team Wins 2018 Alka-Rocket Competition for Safe Recovery


The University of Minnesota Rocket Team participated for a second year in the Alka-Rocket Challenge in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Dec. 12, 2018. Bayer awarded the University of Minnesota Rocket Team $30,000 for safely recovering its rocket and the Brigham Young University (BYU) Team $30,000 for launching the highest rocket. BYU also broke the Guinness World Record for the highest launch of an Alka-Seltzer rocket -- a record the University of Minnesota set in 2017.

The Alka-Rocket Challenge began as a partnership between Bayer and Big Ten Schools to generate awareness of the country’s need for more scientists, engineers, and innovators. Bayer has a longstanding commitment to science literacy and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.

The Minnesota Alka-Rocket team is composed of approximately twenty-five members who worked collaboratively to model, design and construct an Alka-Rocket that met the competition standards. Minnesota was the only team at the Challenge whose rocket successfully descended using a parachute and was safely recovered with all pieces of its computer intact.

Nick Conlin, Andrew Van Gerpen, Machlen Polfliet, and Devin McGee were the undergraduate students chosen to represent the Minnesota Rocket Team in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Machlen Polfiet, the team lead for the Alka-Rocket Challenge for University of Minnesota, said that, “Representing the University of Minnesota on a national scale was a great honor and showcased all of the hard work put in by the Rocket Team, which could not have been achieved without all the support from AEM department faculty and friends.”

The money awarded to the team is being used to fund future competitions, including the next Bayer Alka-Rocket Challenge in December 2020.

From left to right: Nick Conlin, Andrew Van Gerpen, Machlen Polfliet, and Devin McGee


Last Modified: Thursday, 07-Mar-2019 15:31:56 CST -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation