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First Nations Launch


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   Launching Rockets
        Breaking Barriers…
             Starting Careers

High-Power Rocket Competition

April 22-24, 2022


Announcement of Opportunity:
September 1, 2021
Moon/Mars Challenge Notice of Intent to Compete Due: October 22, 2021
Gateway Challenge Notice of Intent to Compete Due: December 17, 2021

About the Program: NASA’s Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) is pleased to announce the 13th Annual First Nations Launch (FNL) National Rocket Competition.  This competition is an opportunity for students attending a Tribal College or University (TCU), a Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI), or who are members of an active American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) collegiate chapter to design, build, and fly a high-powered rocket to be launched at a competition at the Richard Bong State Recreational Area in Kansasville, WI.  

Note: As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, FNL will closely monitor and follow guidelines from federal, state, and community officials regarding on-site competitions. Protecting the health and safety of team members, staff and judges is our primary priority. Challenge managers will be in contact with participants on specifics and changes to the challenges if any.  Learn more.

Purpose:  The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium First Nations Launch competition offers Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI), as well as active American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) collegiate chapters the opportunity to demonstrate engineering and design skills through direct application in high-power rocketry. The competition requires teams of undergraduate students to conceive, design, fabricate and compete with high-power rockets. FNL is a ‘First Step’ experience designed for students with no prior experience working with high-powered rockets. Rocket motors and dimensions are restricted by competition parameters so that the knowledge, creativity, and imagination of the students are challenged. The end result is a great aerospace learning experience unique to the Native American communities.

It is the purpose of this Announcement of Opportunity to support the innovative, visionary projects that are student-led and designed to fully realize WSGC’s goal of assisting in training the next generation of aerospace professionals.

 Gateway Challenge LogoGateway Challenge:  Teams shall design and construct a dual deploy high-power rocket from a list of possible kit combinations. There is no payload associated with this challenge, with focus being on the safe and complete selection, simulation, procurement, assembly/fabrication, and flight of the kit rocket. The flight shall be stable and reach an apogee of 2,500 ft. AGL. The rocket should satisfy all other technical requirements as outlined in the following requirements sections.

FNL Moon ChallengeMoon ChallengeTeams shall design and construct a dual deploy high-power rocket with a GPS data logger onboard. The flight shall be stable and reach an apogee of 3,000 ft AGL. Teams shall reconstruct a 3D trajectory of the rocket flight from the data collected from liftoff until landing and plot it against a satellite imagery map. The trajectory plot will verify a stable ascent. The rocket should satisfy all other technical requirements as outlined in the following Requirements sections.

FNL Mars ChallengeMars Engineering ChallengeTeams shall design and construct a dual deploy high-power rocket with a cold gas thruster system that controls the rocket’s Z-axis angular velocity (roll rate) during the coast phase of its ascent. At motor burnout, the thrusters shall increase the rocket’s roll rate from 0 revolutions per minute (rpm) to 120 rpm, maintain 120-240 rpm for 3 seconds, then decrease to 0 rpm before apogee. A gyroscope sensor and an external camera are required to verify the roll rate was achieved. An altitude range of 3,500 - 4,000 ft AGL is allowed. The rocket should satisfy all other technical requirements as outlined in the following Requirements sections.

 Equipment/Reimbursable funds provided by WSGC:

Rocket Motor

Two (2) motors per team will be provided per the competition parameters.  WSGC also provides ejection charges and a motor casing for competition flights.
NOTE:  Motor selection deadline:  February 28, 2022

Project/Travel Award

Reimbursed up to $4000.  WSGC provides lodging in Kenosha, WI during the launch weekend.  Each team receives up to three (3) hotel rooms per night for a maximum of three (3) nights at the hotel selected for the competition.  WSGC provides the following meals:  Friday breakfast and lunch, and Saturday lunch and dinner.  Teams are responsible for their own transportation to and from the competition locations. 

NOTE:  Reimbursement deadlines are:  March 4 and May 9, 2022

Learning Resources

Each team that participates in the Virtual Kick-Off Meeting will receive a low-power rocket for demonstration flight requirements.

Each new school registered to compete will receive two reference resources:  Model Rocket Design and Construction Third Edition and Modern High-Power Rocketry 2. 

Teams participating in the competition will be eligible to send three team members (advisor, team lead, and team member) to attend a Launch 2 Learn Level I Rocket Certification Workshop hosted by WSGC with all expenses paid.  Returning teams may participate in the workshop.  Universities/colleges participating in the competition for the first time will be given first consideration.   



Interested students and/or faculty members with questions or seeking help in getting started are highly encouraged to contact Frank Nobile (, FNL Technical Advisor; Bob Justus ( of Tripoli Rocketry Association Illinois (a high-powered rocketry association); Genevieve Bennally ( ) FNL Project Assistant; Mark Abotossaway (, FNL Advisor Liaison and alumni; a rocket association near them, or a representative at a local Tripoli Prefecture ( Students interested in gaining information or experience by observing rocket launches are encouraged to contact the local Tripoli, or to attend one of the regular rocket launches held within the team’s local area. Individuals may test for Tripoli High-Powered Rocket Certification (Levels I, II) during the FNL launch weekend.

Please direct questions about the First Nations Launch program to:

Christine Bolz, FNL Program Director and WSGC Assistant Director

Carthage College
2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha, WI  53140
Phone:  262-551-5915

Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium

Carthage College
2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha, WI  53140
Phone:  262-551-6054

This funding opportunity is made available for the pursuit of space-related research and/or activities through the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program: NASA Education Cooperative Agreements #80NSSC19M0036 and #80NSSC20M0123. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for this award is 43.008. All awardees are subject to the terms of the prime award. The material contained in this document is based upon work supported by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant or cooperative agreement. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.


All awards are fully competitive awards of opportunity in which applications are reviewed by the WSGC Technical Advisory Panel and other experts as needed. Awards are made by the Assistant Director based on recommendations from the WSGC Technical Advisory Panel.


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