For the 2018 NASA Student Launch Initiative, SOAR has taken on the challenge of constructing Apis II, a 5″ diameter rocket that will reach exactly 5,280 feet at apogee, before safely landing and deploying a rugged autonomous rover with onboard solar panels. This task is made especially difficult due to the competition’s constraints on remote control, the need to navigate difficult terrain, and the challenge of safely landing the payload without damage. Check below for updates on this project, including highly detailed documentation.


Code for this rocket/rover’s onboard computers is located at


Unless otherwise noted, all links are direct to PDF files.


NSL Post Launch Review Report

We have published our PLR for the 2017-18 NASA Student Launch Initiative! This is the last report for this year’s competition. The report is available on the NSL 2017-18 page, located here:

NSL Full Scale Flight 3

Over this past weekend our NASA Student Launch Team launched Apis II for the third and last time before competition day in a few weeks. With an apogee of 5,278 feet we came within less than 10 feet within our goal of 1 mile! The flight was an overall success with no recovery or flight issues. All that’s left to do now is paint the rocket, and wait for competition day! Here is a slow-motion video of the flight in all its glory:

NSL Flight Readiness Review

Univ of S Florida – 2018 – FRR Univ of S Florida – 2018 – FRR Presentation Univ of S Florida – 2018 – FRR Flysheet

NSL Full Scale Flight #2

On February 17th 2018 we had our second full scale flight for APIS 2. She launched to 5415 feet and had a minor technical difficulty upon landing. We recovered the Booster Section easily but had to go searching in a small pond for the Nosecone and Rover compartment. Luckily all was found and with minimal damage. We will be launching again in March so be on the lookout for updates! Here is a link to watch the launch: Special thanks to Roger Cox Photography for all the great photos from the launch!  

NSL Full Scale Flight #1

We had a great time in Bunnell Florida at our first Full Scale launch for NSL yesterday! We had a successful launch, reaching 5574 feet and an interesting recovery when our Nosecone and Payload Section landed in the power lines and our Booster Section landed about a mile away. We have lots of work to do in order to get ready for launch #2 in February. A special thanks to FPL, Florida Power & Lights, for getting our rocket down safely from the power lines!  

NSL Full Scale Ground Test

Earlier this afternoon our mentor Jim along with some of our members traveled to Plant City in order to conduct our Ground Test before our launch tomorrow. We conducted three static ejection tests including: Drogue, Main Parachute, and Nosecone Parachute. All three tests were a success and allow us to move on to our full scale launch tomorrow!

USF SOAR Critical Design Review

Univ of S Florida – 2018 – CDR – Report Univ of S Florida – 2018 – CDR – Flysheet Univ of S Florida – 2018 – CDR – Presentation

NSL Build Day 1/7/18

Members of our team spent a chilly Sunday morning building their full scale rocket for the NASA Student Launch. The team is now one build day closer to finishing up their rocket before its launch in the upcoming weeks. Check back next week for another update on the construction of the rocket!  

Sub-Scale Launch Day

On Saturday, December 16th, 2017, members of our NASA Student Launch Team successfully launched their new sub-scale rocket for the first time! The sub-scale rocket launched, separated, and landed safely, but the team did come across a couple issues. Despite having some tangled shock cord and one failed parachute the rocket did reach approximately 3,131 feet. With the sub-scale launch completed the team now has some great insight on what needs to be worked on for the upcoming full scale build days!    

Sub-Scale Build Day

Members of the NASA Student Launch Team spent Sunday afternoon with mentor Jim West building the sub-scale rocket in preparation for this Saturday’s test launch.

USF NASA Student Launch 2018 Preliminary Design Review

University of South Florida’s NASA Student Launch Team has done it again! We are moving forward on our rocket and payload design and making bid for the win. Today is the day our Preliminary Design Review is due, and the team has worked extremely hard on all the details. The presentation to NASA personnel will take place on November 8 at 3:30 pm. Wish us luck! Univ of S Florida – 2018 – PDR Univ of S Florida – 2018 – Flysheet Univ of S Florida – 2018 – PDR Presentation

NASA Student Launch 2017-18 Proposal

SOAR has officially completed its proposal for the 2017-2018 NASA Student Launch Initiative! NSL is an annual national rocketry competition that focuses on innovative designs such as unique payloads. This year, SOAR has chosen the “Deployable rover” option, described in the NSL handbook as such: Deployable rover Teams will design a custom rover that will deploy from the internal structure of the launch vehicle. At landing, the team will remotely activate a trigger to deploy the rover from the rocket. After deployment, the rover will autonomously move at least 5 ft. (in any direction) from the launch vehicle. Once the