Local Boy Scouts become rocketeers for NASA student program

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Boy Scout Troop 17 is preparing to launch its next big adventure with NASA.

Troop 17 is the only middle school launch team competing with 51 other high school and college teams from across the country as part of NASA's Student Launch competition.

According to NASA's guidelines for the competition, each team has eight months to design, build, create a rocket that is required to meet certain guidelines.

Each team will work with a team of NASA rocketry experts to see if they're on the right track with their design before next year's competition.

As part of the challenge, the rockets must fly at least 3,500 feet into the air and carry a payload.

Hunter Yates, team leader for the group, said they're focusing their experiments on how they can use the heat energy emitted from their motor during the launch.

"We're going to convert that into electrical energy to determine how much energy we can produce," said Yates.

Kartik Scindia, another team member from the group, said this isn't the first time their team has competed.

Last year, he said their team was involved in the same competition and won a couple of awards.

"We came second in overall altitude and beat out the college teams," said Scindia.

Caleb Barker, one of the students involved in the launch team, said this is a worthwhile experience that goes beyond the classroom.

"It's not like school, it's like something extra where you learn so much that you don't get to learn in school," said Barker.

With the program giving students a chance to create their own out-of-this-world experience, Yates said it's also about inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders.

"We're hoping that through this program, we can reach the community through STEM activities and increase interest overall in STEM areas," he said.

Boy Scout Troop 17 will compete near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama on April 4 through 6.

The group is also trying to raise $15,000 to help buy supplies for the rockets and fund the trip to Alabama.

If you would like to donate, you can visit the link in the Related Links box.

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