UH Community College students launch rocket in NASA competition


University of Hawaiʻi
Kelli Abe Trifonovitch, (808) 228-8108
Chief Communications Officer, UH Communications
Posted: Apr 6, 2019

Project Imua team members are interviewed by NASA TV.
Project Imua team members are interviewed by NASA TV.
Project Imua team prior to launch.
Project Imua team prior to launch.
UH Project Imua rocket launches in Alabama.
UH Project Imua rocket launches in Alabama.

Link to video and sound (details below): https://bit.ly/2D1akCp

WHAT:   University of Hawaiʻi Project Imua students launched the rocket and payload they designed and built for the NASA Student Launch competition.  The competition featured 45 teams from 20 states.

WHO:  Ten UH Community College students from Honolulu, Kapi‘olani and Windward Community Colleges and from UH Mānoa comprise the Project Imua Mission 6 team.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 6, 2019

WHERE:  competition launch site near Huntsville, Alabama

WHY:  Project Imua’s primary mission is to develop small payloads for space flight while providing undergraduates with project-based learning opportunities in STEM fields.

HOW:  The Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium awarded Project Imua a grant of $65,931, which covered materials, student stipends and travel expenses.


  • NASA Student Launch competition teams are challenged to “call their shot” and predict before launch day how high their rocket will fly.

  • The Project Imua rocket flew to 4,338 feet and the team had predicted a peak height of 4,700 feet

  • Their 10-foot-tall rocket was named “Fissure 8” after the prominent volcanic vent in the 2018 eruption on Hawai‘i Island.

  • The payload was a four-wheeled rover named “Ho‘omau” (the Hawaiian values of perseverance and persistence) designed to travel 10 feet before collecting a soil sample.

  • Project Imua continues a tradition of UH rocketry excellence

  • Project Imua social media:


BROLL: (:53)

1 launch with sound up, including countdown (:08)

1 students react

1 parachute coming down

1 more students reaction

3 shots walking out and setting up rocket


Katherine Bronston, Windward CC team leader (;05)

“Iʻm so excited that our flight went so well, it really went just as it was supposed to.”

Mia Fong, Honolulu CC team leader (:09)

“To be able to see it in person.  It was really beautiful to see it work the way itʻs meant to and see those ʻchutes come out and just watching it come down, it was amazing.”

Leomana Turalde, Windward CC student (:13)

“I might become an astronaut.  Iʻve always kind of wanted to become an astronaut since I was a kid and watching this rocket fly, Iʻm kind of finding confidence in myself that itʻs possible.”

Craig Opie, Honolulu CC student (:14)

“Iʻm super excited.  Totally stoked that it actually worked. We put a lot of effort and a lot of just collaboration, lack of sleep into this thing, especially over the last couple of weeks. And just seeing it go up and perform so beautifully was just amazing.”