ULA interns launch record-breaking model rocket

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The competition heats up: A team of ULA interns, working in their spare time, have successfully launched the largest model rocket every built.

On Sunday (July 24), ULA launched the 50-foot-tall (15.24 meters) Future Heavy rocket out of Fort Carson Army Post, breaking the record for “the largest sport rocket launched anywhere in the world,” according to a statement from ULA. The Future Heavy is also notable because it was built entirely by company interns and their mentors. “We like [our interns] to have a very realistic experience,” ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno told Space.com at the Space Symposium meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last April.

Calling it a “model rocket” really isn’t fair. The thing is big, and really ranks up there with many of the suborbital rockets NASA used to routinely fly out of Wallops Island. That ULA has provided support for this effort again suggests that the leadership of Bruno is reshaping the company into a much more innovative and competitive company.


  • Localfluff

    “sport rocket”, I like that term.

  • Alex

    Mr. Zimmerman, it is “model” rocket, because it display, independend from it size, all features of model (or better “sport”) rocket: 1. Use of extra oversized airframe (often made of wood, paper or plastics), in which a quite small, ready available propulsion is mounted, where as in a real rocket the propulsion unit (and its pressure vessel or tanks) is itself the airframe. Therefore, low ballistic coefficient (large impact of air resistance) and heavy inert mass 2. Very limited delta-v (propulsion capabilty) due small propellant mass fraction and flight performance. 3. No active guidance and control

  • I was in Colorado Springs last week giving a talk, with the co-author of my book, to Air Force Command about GPS. The commander of AF Space Command, Gen Hyten, gave the introduction to our talk.

    Sunday, I ran into three of the ULA people who worked on the launch at a restaurant. They were bright people and there’s a chance that, with people like this, they will be able to compete with SpaceX.

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