NMT Students Lit Up the Skies Launching a Mustang, an Innovative Rocket at Spaceport America

Mustang 6A Rocket Launch, November 4, 2017, Spaceport America (Photo: J. Perry, Launch Crew, White Sands Research and Developers, LLC)

The Rocket Team built and launched a rocket, and recovered the payload section. All went well with one exception.

Spaceport America announced the launch today of the first Mustang 6A rocket which was built by The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) Rocket Team in collaboration with White Sands Research and Developers, LLC (WSRDs).

The launch of the Mustang 6A, designed to reach an apogee of 24,000 feet, took place Saturday morning from Spaceport America’s north Lunar Launch Pad.

The mission was an operational success and accomplished most of the mission objectives, which involved testing of several newly designed and innovative subsystems. These custom-designed subsystems performed according to design and the payload section was recovered fully intact. The rocket, however, did not attain its intended apogee.
The mission patch was designed by Chip Wyly and Lenora Jaramillo-Wyly. It utilizes symbols from the logos of WSRDs (Zia-enclosed Mach cone) and NMT (M-Mountain), and depicts the Mustang rocket heading towards Polaris, the North Star, which is used to verify alignment of the launch rail and meteorological equipment. Photo by Dr. C. Lohn, WSRDs’ President and Launch Crew Member

Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America, summed it up, “We are proud of the New Mexico Tech team and its student members for their recent launch effort on November 4th at Spaceport America. We are pleased to work with these fine examples of the next generation of space industry engineers and scientists.”

The launch took place at 07:35 AM (MDT), only four minutes after the planned launch time of 7:31AM MDT (sunrise). The mission window actually would have allowed launch until nearly 11:00 AM MDT. Dr. Christina Lohn, WSRDs’ CEO remarked, “This mission took enormous preparation by WSRDs’ launch crew and the NMT rocket team, but it really paid off with a smooth operation under changing weather conditions.”

The current mission was the third NMT rocket launch hosted at Spaceport America, and each group of students has been welcomed and supported by the spaceport crew. This team reached the highest operational level yet in terms of safety, proficiency, adherence to schedule, and professionalism. Dr. Lohn, added, “We want to thank the Spaceport America staff and its Protective Services contractor, who were very helpful throughout the preparations, up to and including active participation in our Mission Readiness Review and Mission Dress Rehearsal.”

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