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Russellville rocket team sets sights on NASA Student Launch program

A student team from Russellville is aiming for even loftier goals after winning a major U.S. rocketry competition and then a high-profile international contest at this summer’s Paris Air Show.

The RCS Engineering Team, made up of seven middle and high school students from Franklin County, plans to follow its triumph in Paris by participating in the NASA Student Launch. The program — organized annually by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville — gets students involved in high-powered rocketry, where they are asked to design a rocket that can carry a scientific payload a mile into the air.

Unlike their previous single-day competitions, NASA Student Launch requires teams to present their rocket design to a board of engineers to receive approval to build a scale model and then a second round of approval before building the actual rocket.

“It’s structured like a real NASA project,” team captain Andrew Heath said. “It’s going to be a lot more strenuous, but we’re excited.”

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