Picture this: A rocket blasting off into space filled with sensitive electronic instruments and carrying a payload of Pagliacci pizza sauce—the thruster putting a maximum of twenty G’s of force on the load. What could go wrong?
It’s an engineering problem, and just the thing William Lacrampe loves. He’s the chief engineer for the University of Washington chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), a club that unites students with a passion for space.
This year, their primary project is designing and building a carbon fiber rocket that can fly to 10,000 feet. Aside from the motor, they’re designing and making the carbon-fiber body, nose cone, and fins. They also wire all the internal electronics and design some of the circuits for the instruments that will measure many of the forces exerted by and on the rocket as it flies. If all goes well, the rocket—and pizza sauce—will float back to earth by parachute.
William says, “All of our electronics are fastened to a sled, which is two discs with a long rectangular plate between the two that fits snugly inside the rocket. We plan to fill a small container with Pagliacci pizza sauce, seal it, and pack it in some vibration-absorbing material. It should make it.”
SEDS is a national student organization with chapters on campuses throughout the country. The UW chapter engages members with engineering challenges and competitions, space policy, and networking within the industry.
William, a junior in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering program at UW, dreams of working on things that go to other planets. He says, “I don’t really care what in particular that is: a satellite, a rover, a lander. It sounds cool. I want to do it.”
Not only does SEDS allow William and the other members to work together on rockets, but they also sponsor social game nights and send a few members to a national conference called SpaceVision, the largest fully student-run space conference in the nation. Pagliacci also helped the UW chapter of SEDS send a student to the conference last year.
William says, “We’re grateful for the support of Pagliacci Pizza. Their generosity helps students like me pursue our dreams.”