UH Mānoa students launch rocket and two payloads in New Mexico


University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Chief Communications Officer, UH Communications
Posted: Jun 20, 2019

UH Mānoa engineering students launched their rocket in New Mexico for the Spaceport America Cup.
UH Mānoa engineering students launched their rocket in New Mexico for the Spaceport America Cup.

LINK TO VIDEO AND SOUND (details below): https://bit.ly/2ZzyVa1

WHAT:  UH Mānoa College of Engineering students launched and recovered the rocket and payloads they built for the Spaceport America Cup competition hosted by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA).

WHO:  Six of the nine University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa engineering students who comprise the Project Hōkūlele team, working on a UH Aerospace Technologies Vertically Integrated Project (VIP).

WHEN:  Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WHERE:  Las Cruces, New Mexico

WHY:  By participating in the Spaceport America Cup, the students gain valuable insight and hands-on experience in the field of aerospace technology.

HOW:  $10,000 in funding from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program covered the cost of the rocket and some travel expenses, along with $1,000 from the College of Engineering, which covered additional travel expenses.


  • The 11.5-foot-tall rocket is named Kahekili.

  • One payload is a 3U CubeSat shell with an onboard computer system to determine whether the onboard computer system will be able to withstand launch forces. (According to NASA, CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. CubeSats are built to standard dimensions or “U” of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and typically weigh less than 1.33 kg or 3 lbs per U.)

  • The second payload is an array of transducers (a device that converts energy from one form to another) that will measure the vibrations of the rocket body during flight. The data will be used to better understand the forces acting on a rocket during flight, which can be applied to future rocket construction.


BROLL: (1 minute 23 seconds)

0:00-0:36, 3 clips: the rocket launch and reactions

0:36-1:04, 5 clips: preparation for the launch

1:04-1:23, 4 clips: retrieval of the payload