UT MITE Program
The University of Texas College of Engineering operates a summer camp program to encourage high school students to pursue careers in engineering. The Minority Introduction to Engineering (MITE) program takes fifty kids through a 6 day program in a camp environment where they engage in a variety of activities to acquaint them with engineering. One of these activities is a rocketry engineering exercise called "Project X-35" based on a curriculum guide from NASA. This exercise simulates the engineering process by giving a team of students a Request for Proposal which they have to respond to within a limited budget. They complete a design for a rocket, put together a proposal, and build a prototype based on their design.
The program (which includes a lot more than rockets) was managed this year by Mesa Davis, Outreach Coordinator for the College of Engineering. AARG helped with the introduction to RockSim, and acted as the "Launch Port" for the engineering simulation. Each student paid a one million dollar fee to have the prototype rocket launched. Too bad it was only play money! The student team work almost completely autonomously, receiving only a brief introduction to RockSim and rocket concepts.
For this effort, rockets were built with raw materials from Apogee Components and the engineering design was done using RockSim. This allowed the students to create a complete rocket design and simulate the flight before ever touching building materials, which gives them a good feel for a real engineering environment. This year, we added a new element: altimeters. Each rocket flew with an electronic altimeter to measure how close the rocket comes to the team's target altitude.
Of course, the real purpose of the exercise is the process, but a lot of the excitement for the students (just like real engineers) is the actual building and launching.
Other Photo Albums online
See the news report above that ran at 4 PM and 6 PM on Friday during the first session.
Click on a picture to enlarge it.
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Date last updated: 2/18/05at 6:21 PM - comments to firstname.lastname@example.org