Members of UBC Rocket at the Spaceport America Cup competition in New Mexico where their rocket, Sky Pilot, placed third in the 30,000 ft. category. (Photo courtesy of UBC Rocket.)

Abbotsford Airshow invites UBC Rocket to promote aerospace education

Outreach meant to fuel enrolment in STEM fields in universities

The Abbotsford Airshow will be hosting the UBC Rocket team to spark interest in aerospace-related post-secondary fields.

“This is the first time that we are featuring them in a big way because we are really trying to drive some attention to science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” said Jadene Mah, media coordinator for the airshow.

Guests at the event will be greeted by members of UBC Rocket in the static display area for the duration of the three-day airshow.

Their exhibit will have information panels, rocket designs and components along with some freebies to hand out during the event.

Hubert Fortier, team captain of UBC Rocket, says Canadian interest for rocketry has been growing in recent years.

“In the past five years there was little to no activity in terms of getting students into rocketry but then it just exploded once you had companies like SpaceX getting on the news,” said Fortier. “It’s getting really popular.”

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The team was created in 2016 and is primarily composed of students who design, build and then launch rockets.

Fortier said their exhibit was popular last year when the team attended the event for the first time.

“It’s entirely new,” Fortier said. “Technically, our rocket was one of the fastest flight vehicles there.”

This year, the team is showing off their Hollyburn and Sky Pilot rockets. The Hollyburn rocket was made by first-year students and is designed to travel up to an elevation of 10,000 feet. The Sky Pilot is a new rocket designed for 30,000 feet with a top speed of 1.6 times the speed of sound.

The team launches three rockets a year and enters into international student competitions. At the Spaceport America Cup rocketry competition in June, Sky Pilot came third in the 30,000-foot category out of roughly 20 teams competing.

Fortier said their team looks forward to doing public outreach events.

“You get to talk to everyone, whoever’s interested in hearing more about rocketry or just wants to ask us more about what it takes to find a path into a STEM-related field.”

w The Abbotsford Airshow runs from Aug. 9-11.

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