Press Release: SOAR Announces First Multistage Rocket Launch


Download Full Press Kit (PDF)

UPDATE (April 6): The FSGC Hybrid Rocketry Competition has been rescheduled; information on that event has been removed from this release and will be re-released at a later date. All other information in this release is still valid.

Taurus I Two-Stage Rocket Launch

The sustainer section of Taurus I (without the booster section) was launched as a single-stage rocket in Maryland last year. ©2017 Nadine Kinney. Used with permission.

The Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry (SOAR) at the University of South Florida announces the completion of Taurus I, its largest and most powerful rocket built to date. This two-stage rocket, which stands over 24 ft. tall and weighs about 100 lbs., is entirely designed and built by USF students. SOAR’s first-ever multistage rocket launch is scheduled to take place on August 14th in Bunnell, FL, as part of the Northeast Florida Association of Rocketry (NEFAR)’s sanctioned launch weekend. If Taurus I reaches its target altitude of 12,000 ft., SOAR will more than double the previous launch site altitude record of 5,100 ft.

As a two-stage rocket, Taurus I consists of a booster section, or first stage, and a sustainer section, or second stage. The booster section will ignite its solid-fuel motor at launch, which will burn until it runs out of fuel (delivering an average of 320 lb. of force for about 7 seconds). At that point, the booster section will separate from the rocket and fall to the ground under its own parachute. The sustainer section will then ignite and burn through a second motor (delivering an average of 250 lb. of force for another 4.5 seconds). Finally, the sustainer will coast to the maximum altitude deploying the main parachute system and coasting to the ground.

Being the culmination of two years of dedicated work, this launch is a crucial milestone for the organization. As SOAR President Jonathon Fitzer puts it, “Taurus symbolizes SOAR moving from a small group of engineers building rockets, to a large national organization where the sky is not limit…To have had a hand in that process and bring others in SOAR along for that journey is really what makes it all worth it.”

This launch in April is open to the public, and spectators are welcome. Event information can be found on SOAR’s Facebook page: This will be a low-altitude test prior to competition at the Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico in June, where SOAR will attempt to launch Taurus I to 30,000 ft. using even more powerful motors.

About SOAR

The Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry is a USF student organization founded in 2013 that is dedicated to the research and development of rocketry and aerospace technologies. SOAR is one of the largest and fastest-growing engineering student organizations on campus, and is open to students of all majors. SOAR has built more than a dozen high-powered rockets and helped more than 20 students earn national high-powered rocketry certifications. The organization currently houses six major rocketry projects, including three national competitions: Spaceport America Cup, the FSGC Hybrid Rocketry Competition, and the NASA Student Launch Initiative. The group is primarily funded by USF Student Government and sponsored by CAE. More information on SOAR and its work can be found at

Press Resources

Media Contact

Ian Sanders, Chief of Operations:


The sustainer section of Taurus I (without the booster section) was launched as a single-stage rocket in Maryland last year. High quality photos of that launch are available at NOTE: All photos ©2017 Nadine Kinney. Used with permission. (Permission is explicitly granted for press uses).

A high-resolution logo file for press use can be found at

After the event, photos and videos will be posted to or