June 12, 2024 (7:31 PM)

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SIBOL. The AdDU Rocketry Team is one of the two representatives from Southeast Asia to compete in the 10k COTS (Commercially Off-the-Shelf) category of the Spaceport America Cup 2024, where their rocket Sibol (growth in Bisaya) – standing at 9.7ft and carrying an 8.8lb payload is expected to reach the target altitude of 10,000 feet and must not significantly exceed or fall short from the target. Photo by Toni Anne Albarico

With the historic participation of the AdDU Rocketry Team in the Spaceport America Cup 2024 – Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition, Aerospace Engineering Department Chair Dr. Rogel Mari Sese hopes that this achievement contributes to the growing field of rocket technology in the country.

During a press conference held on June 10, Dr. Sese shared that a lot of the technologies being used today are made possible by rocket technology, as opposed to the common notion that it is only limited to “out of this world” objects and flying rockets. 

“We live in a society right now wherein aerospace engineering is very much ubiquitous in our everyday life to the point that we don’t recognize that we are using space technology,” he emphasized.

An example that Sese gave is the placement of satellites in space that aids in communication, Global Positioning System (GPS) systems, and could even aid in agriculture. 

Engr. Wilfredo Pardola Jr., who was also part of the team that built Tala, the first-ever hybrid rocket in the country, emphasized that the growth of the aerospace industry in the country is a result of the collective efforts of different sectors, which contribute to nation-building.

“Nation-building is really a collective effort in terms of the space technology applications. To improve that [rocket technology] one and to continue the efforts in the space technology application here in the Philippines, we have this growth not just on rockets but the whole aerospace industry here in the Philippines.”

More than competing in New Mexico, the AdDU Rocketry Team plays an important part in the development of AdDU’s Rocket Development Program, Project Sugod, which signifies the University’s mission to contribute to the field of aerospace engineering in the country.

“We aim not just to compete in future Spaceport America Cup competitions, but also inspire and nurture a new generation of Filipino engineers and scientists, positioning our country as a burgeoning hub for aerospace innovation,” University President Fr. Karel San Juan, SJ said.

Dr. Sese also hopes that Mindanao becomes a hub for aerospace technology, considering that its geographical location is ideal for rocket launching.

“We [Mindanao] have a very good geography in terms of location. We have a very good location for launching rockets not just as test launches but eventually, in the future, I hope that we can launch rockets also into outer space.”

Dr. Sese is also optimistic about the growing interest of students in aerospace engineering, since he noted that the number of students in the University’s aerospace engineering department has been increasing through the years since 2018.

Being the first Filipino team to make it to the Spaceport America Cup, the AdDU Rocketry Team competes in the 10k COTS (Commercially Off-the-Shelf) category, wherein they expect that their rocket Sibol (meaning growth) reaches the target altitude of 10,000 feet and must not significantly exceed or be less than the said target.

AdDU Rocketry Team goes to New Mexico

Before venturing to this year’s Spaceport competition, the AdDU Rocketry Team and Dr. Sese, the team’s faculty lead, had a long way to go before qualifying for the Spaceport America Cup. 

According to the team lead, Franz Carlo Guevara, the team qualified for the competition after applying for an initial screening for the school’s qualifications and submitting the necessary reports for the Spaceport America Cup in November 2023.

“We started applying for the Spaceport America Cup in the initial screening to determine if the school could participate in the competition. There were a series of evaluations where we had to submit technical reports, which happened to be three. And last May, we had to submit a technical report which consisted of all the specifics for the rockets,” Guevara explained.

After reports were submitted, the team went on with the Flight Readiness Review in May of this year and passed. The review allowed the team to describe the rocket and explain its specifics, which led them to receive a green light to participate in the contest. 

With the approaching competition, AdDU Rocketry Team Structures Lead Avery Clyde Dimasuhid shared how the team conquered the challenges of simultaneously being a student and working on the rocket.

“Difficult i-juggle ang amoa academics ug other duties. And, just after final exams, didto na mi nag banat ug prepare for the rocket. But, during those days nga naa mi klase, naa mi work, naga prepare mi for the progress reports, nga, fortunately pud, na pasar pud namo,” he added.

Dimasuhid expressed his confidence in the team members’ efforts to make the rocket, especially since the team has made the invention possible.

“Ang pagka-buhat namo sa among rocket lang pud kay it’s made with care with the best team, naga synergize mi and all. And with regards sa confidence sa among performance didto itself, actually, ako, there’s no pressure lang gyud sa akoa; it’s the bond, the feat, nga among gi conquer karon.”

The Spaceport America Cup 2024 is the world’s largest Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for student rocketry teams, with around 200 teams from 20 different countries participating. AdDU’s team is one of the two representatives from Southeast Asia along with a team from Thailand.

The AdDU Rocketry Team will be flying to New Mexico, USA, this Thursday, June 13 and will be competing from June 17 to 22.



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