UCSD students shoot to send rocket into space

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SAN DIEGO - A group of UC San Diego students have their sights set not only on graduating but also on making history by launching a rocket into space.

The Triton Rocket Club is designing a two-stage rocket tentatively scheduled to launch from Black Rock, Nev. in March.

The club's president, Nicholas Montoya, said that the motivation behind the creation is to land internships after graduation.

“There is a cycle that goes into it -- if you don’t have experience, you can't get a job and if you don’t have a job, how do you get experience?” said Montoya, a senior in the Jacobs School of Engineering. “Especially in engineering right now, it's very tough. It's cut throat.”

The group has built smaller rockets in the past but nothing compares to the one they are attempting now. The rocket is slated to be 20 feet tall and 6 inches long, weighing just over 300 pounds. They aim to launch above 300,000 feet at a speed of Mach 5.

“Going at those speeds, the big problem becomes the surface heat -- anything you put together will melt -- so we have to make our structure very sound,” Montoya said.

The group started building nearly a year ago, working from their college apartment and using their own money to get started.

They are now three months away from completion and have racked in nearly $8,000 in sponsorship money.

Before the group can test their rocket they must first get approval from the FAA. They are currently working with the Tripoli Rocketry Association to gain the credentials they need before the flight.