Piedmont Student Launch Team
The Piedmont Student Launch Team is a group of Piedmont Virginia Community College students, backed by PVCC faculty, administration, and industry professionals, participating in one of the premier engineering challenges available to college students: NASA Student Launch. Being a part of PSLT gives students in many disciplines an unparalleled opportunity to develop the technical, professional, and team skills that workplaces want to see, while also enjoying the camaraderie of a fun team project like no other. Over the eight-month course of the project (September to April), team members will build and fly multiple high-power rockets, prepare and present technical reports for NASA, develop and program electronics, fabricate payload components, participate in community outreach events, and learn how to function as part of a high-performing technical project team.
About NASA Student Launch
Student Launch is an eight-month NASA experiential program challenging college student teams to design, fabricate, test, and launch high-power rockets and scientific payloads, conduct educational outreach activities, and complete a series of real-world comprehensive design reviews, all overseen by NASA staff, engineers and scientists. Teams from universities and colleges nationwide take part in this annual competition run by the NASA Academic Affairs Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. While there are winners in numerous categories, the real challenge is to meet NASA’s many milestone requirements and successfully fly a rocket in Huntsville with teams from around the country.
After a competitive proposal selection process, teams participate in a series of design reviews that are submitted to NASA and presented via teleconference. These reviews mirror the engineering design lifecycle, providing an experience that prepares students for the real-world technical workforce. Over the course of the project, teams must complete a Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, and Flight Readiness Review as they design, build, test, fly, and refine their rocket and payload designs.
Prior to flying at Launch Week in April in Huntsville, AL, teams must also complete a rigorous Launch Readiness Review to verify that they are ready to fly safely. After their Launch Week flight, teams must analyze payload performance and flight data in a Post Launch Assessment Review. All of these pieces require the students to function as a high-end project team to meet challenging milestones, providing real-world experience that gives Student Launch team members a competitive edge in the job market.