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2019-2020 Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition - the "Photography/Altitude" High-Power Rocketry Challenge

The Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC) announces its intention to run a Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition, held in the Midwest but open to college/university student teams from across the nation, during the 2019-2020 academic year. This competition is an opportunity for students to design and construct high-power rockets to be launched in May of 2020 from a Tripoli MN Club launch site near near North Branch, MN, about a one hour drive north of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

In this competition college-student teams will design and construct a single stage (dual-deploy-optional) high-power rocket that will fly twice in the competition. The target altitude for the first flight will be 2345 ft above ground level and the target altitude for the second flight will be 3456 feet above ground level. The flights can be on any Cesaroni or AeroTech I-class or J-class motor. The rocket must carry two low-cost cameras that interface with a non-commercial sensor suite described below (see handbook for cost limits on cameras). The cameras are to be mounted on parts of the rocket that separate from one another in flight. Photography points during ascent (post-burnout) will be awarded for quality of footage and minimum rotation. (Active roll-control mechanisms encouraged, but not required.) Photography points during recovery will be for having each camera keep the other part of the rocket in view, especially during separation and during landing. Photography points post-landing will be awarded for the best 360 horizon panorama (video or a set of still photo(s)) from just one camera from an elevation as far off the ground as possible within 5 minutes of landing. The rocket must also carry a non-commercial data-logging sensor suite to characterize flight performance including (at least) axial acceleration, roll rate about vertical axis, av-bay ambient pressure plus forward-facing (stagnation) pressure (from which velocity can be deduced). Sensor values must be logged at 10 Hz (minimum) and also text-overlaid on one video in real time (not post-processing). Computer/camera system likely to be Raspberry-Pi-based with Pi cameras, or something similar. Note that all fabrication work on the rocket (except for possible machining of plastic and/or metal parts) must be performed by students.

Logistical questions may be directed to James Flaten, MN Space Grant, U of MN,
Technical questions may be directed to Gary Stroick, Tripoli MN,


    - more sponsors to be announced


> Kick-off/informational telecon: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 (repeated Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020) from 7 to 8 p.m. CST (contact James Flaten, MN Space Grant, for call-in information)
> Garner your state’s Space Grant sponsorship and submit a (Non-binding) “Notice of Intent to Compete” by Oct. 1, 2019
> $400 Registration Fee is due by Jan. 31, 2020, of which up to $100 will be applied toward purchase of two competition motors
> Declaration of Competition Attendance due by Feb. 7, 2020
> DRAFT OF DESIGN - submit for feedback asap (preferably before you start to build) - due no later than Feb. 14, 2020
> Preliminary Design (Written) Report and Competition Motor Order due by Mar. 13, 2020
> Flight Readiness (Written) Report due by May 4, 2020 (note new date)
> In-person Competition dates: Presentations & Safety Checks on Saturday, 5/16/20** (mid-afternoon & evening) then flights on Sunday, 5/17/20** (all day, plus an evening banquet)
> Alternate (Weather-delay) flight date: Monday, 5/18/20** (as long as needed)
** If Minnesota has a particularly wet spring, the competition dates might shift – see handbook.

Document archive for 2019-2020 "Photography/Altitude" competition:

Announcement of Competition (circulated September 1, 2019):

Handbook for Competition (v3 with highlighted rules changes posted 1/6/2020 - added required "Code Appendix" to final two written reports (no page limit)):

Slides and recording from Informational/Kick-off Telecon (with modified slides posted 11/18/2019):

(Non-Binding) "Notice of Intent to Compete" Template (due Oct. 1, 2019, mail form to James Flaten at

Reports by a past year's winning team (from U of MN - Duluth) - optional reading:

Instructions for paying the $400 Registration fee, due January 31, 2020:

"Notice of Competition Attendance" Template (due Feb. 7, 2020, mail form to James Flaten at

Information about hotels and camping options, plus stores (like hardware stores) and other "local attractions"

Last Modified: 2020-02-06 at 11:30:38 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation