Clarkson Rocketry Club Takes Off With Newly Certified Members

The Clarkson University Rocketry Club ended the spring semester on a high note, with several of its members receiving their Level 1 High Powered Rocketry Certification during a series of launches held the first weekend of May.

In conjunction with the Upstate Research Rocketry Group (URRG), Clarkson Rocketry participated in launching 10 rockets over the weekend, and seven of the club’s members obtained their Level 1 High Powered Rocketry Certification, according to Club President Benjamin Ellis ‘24. This certification, offered through the Tripoli Rocketry Organization (TRA), is received upon successful construction, flight, and recovery of their rocket in usable condition and on an approved motor.

“High-powered rocketry is the next step up from the mini Estes rockets that many of us would get from the hardware store as kids,” Ellis explained. “Because of the step-up in how powerful these rockets are, different levels of certification are required to buy more and more powerful motors.”

Clarkson Rocketry is on an upward trajectory, according to Ellis. Over the past year, the club has stabilized its organization by assembling a new executive board and securing funding through the Clarkson University Student Association. Now boasting over 15 active members, the club holds weekly meetings to educate members and offer hands-on experience. The club plans to attend several more launch events similar to the one in early May, including the Argonia Cup Collegiate Rocketry Competition in Kansas next spring. 

Ellis hopes Clarkson Rocketry can also help to bolster the experience of students in Clarkson’s new Aerospace Engineering program. Aerospace engineering encompasses both Aeronautical engineering (aircraft-focused) and Astronautical engineering (spacecraft-focused) concepts.

“We hope to provide Clarkson’s students with hands-on experience in the Astronautical portion of Aerospace Engineering,” Ellis said. “Through partnerships with many of the different labs on campus, such as the Aeronautical Composites Manufacturing Laboratory run by (Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) Prof. Marcias Martinez and sponsored by the JetBlue Foundation, we are able to take advantage of the vast research resources that Clarkson has at hand to propel the club to the forefront of the rocketry community.”

And while he sees Clarkson Rocketry as a perfect complement to the new Aerospace Engineering program, Ellis stressed that the club is truly for anyone interested in rockets.

“While rockets are technically Aerospace Engineering, it is one of the most interdisciplinary fields in existence, incorporating mechanical design, software, chemistry, electronics, physics, and beyond,” Ellis said. “We want to work with as many people as possible and you are encouraged to reach out to us if you are a student interested in joining, or anyone else interested in donating, sponsoring, or just learning more about us.”

Anyone who would like more information on Clarkson Rocketry is encouraged to reach out to Ellis at

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