The Aerospace Club at the University of Nevada, Reno is still a relatively new club on campus. Having only been around for three years, the President of the club, Chris Zinser, has been involved since the start. More divisions of the club have been created to better cater to students' interests. Two years ago, Zinser founded the rocketry division of the club and now it has grown to 20 members. With the growing interest in aerospace, Zinser wants to see everyone launch their rocket and get their certifications.
The members of the Aerospace Club can obtain certifications that are recognized by organizations such as NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other aerospace firms. This certification program is one of the Aerospace Club’s many professional certification programs where members can get either a Level-one (L1), Level-two (L2) or Level-three (L3) certification. There are many steps the member must take to achieve these certifications and each level gets increasingly more difficult to pass. To get an L1 certification, members must design, launch, and recover a rocket successfully. For many members, attaining their L1 certifications is their first experience with rocketry. Those members who decide to get their certifications often do so to help set them apart when applying to work at aerospace firms and help them prepare for a career in aerospace.
Recently, the Aerospace Club got its L3 certifications. This is the first level-three rocket the club has built and it was built to reach heights of 30,000 feet. The rocket, Cloud Runner, took the Aerospace Club several months to build. It needed to be stronger than their other rockets as it was going higher and faster than anything they had launched before.
In September, the Aerospace Club was able to get Cloud Runner into the air. Their launch site was Black Rock Desert and after lift-off, the rocket reached a peak altitude of 27,000 feet and hit a top speed of Mach 2, or 1,522 miles per hour.
Zinser is thrilled people are starting to show more of an interest in the Aerospace Club. He loves being able to share his passion for rocketry with new members. Zinser has said that being able to provide students with opportunities and have them gain passion for the same thing is “one of the best feelings in the world.” The club spends a lot of time together and becomes like a family to several members. The Aerospace Club has been at the club fairs for the past few years but if any new potential members missed them, students can join the club at any time and will be brought up to speed and integrated into projects by one of their officers.