Home Lifestyle UNCP places third in First Nations national rocket competition

UNCP places third in First Nations national rocket competition

Mace Velarde (left) Bryan Martinez, Caleb Locklear (co-captain), Sydney Allen, Alex Velarde (captain), Micah Ferguson, Benjamin Savage. Not pictured is Eric Schwartz.

PEMBROKE — UNC Pembroke placed third in the Mars Challenge at the 13th annual First Nations Launch National Rocket Competition in Wisconsin April on 22-24 in Wisconsin.  

The competition is open to students attending a tribal college or university, a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution, or members of an active American Indian Science and Engineering Society collegiate chapter. Students designed, built and flew a high-powered rocket launched at the Richard Bong State Recreational Area. 

The competition allows students to demonstrate engineering and design skills through direct application in high-powered rocketry.   

UNCP Rocket Team members are Alex Velarde (captain), Caleb Locklear (co-captain), Mace Velarde, Bryan Martinez, Sydney Allen, Micah Ferguson and Benjamin Savage. Eric Schwartz is a member but was unable to make the trip. 


The team also placed third in the oral presentation portion of the competition and took home a $1,000 cash prize. UNCP also took home the Altitude Award. 

The Mars Engineering Challenge — the highest level of competition — tasks team members with designing and constructing a dual deploy high-power rocket with a cold gas thruster system. 

The Mars Challenge consisted of student teams from UNCP, Northern Arizona University, University of Washington, Queens University and Fort Lewis College. NASA’s Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium supports first Nations Launch.  

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