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OUR MISSION

The Alabama Rocket Engineering Systems (ARES) Initiative is a student-led program with the goal of taking The University of Alabama to the forefront of collegiate rocketry. In pursuit of this mission, students learn industry skills while pushing boundaries in advanced research. The ARES Initiative ignites a passion for space in the community, and provides University of Alabama students the opportunity to network on an interdisciplinary team.

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about our team

The ARES Initiative fields a solids and liquids rocket design team each year. Historically, our solids team has launched at the IREC Spaceport America Cup, with several launches in the 30,000 ft Student-Researched-and-Developed (SRAD) Solids category. Our liquids team is relatively new, with initial research beginning in 2017. In 2018, the liquids team became a part of the Base 11 Space Challenge, a competition awarding $1 million to the first university team to launch a single-stage, liquid-fueled rocket to 100 km.

The ARES Initiative has grown in size every year of its existence. In 2015, the organization’s first year, the program consisted of 9 students and has since grown to 49 members across two design teams. In addition, members hail from almost all engineering majors and backgrounds.

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Advisors

 

Dr. Marcus Ashford

Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering

 

Dr. Richard Branam

Assistant Professor

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

 

Dr. Samit Roy

William D. Jordan Professor

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

 

 
 

Outreach

 
 

Tuscaloosa Rocketry Challenge

The Tuscaloosa Rocketry Challenge (TRC) is a joint outreach event hosted by ARA, ARES, and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space in collaboration the UA Honors College. Middle school students throughout Tuscaloosa County are introduced to rockets, space history, and the scientific method over the course of a week. They go on to apply what they have learned in an exciting, hands-on water rocket tournament. Winners from each middle school go on to compete in a county-wide final on UA’s campus at the end of the semester. In the 2017-18 academic year, eleven schools participated, with approximately 2400 middle school students taking part in the competition.

 
 

Worlds of Work

The annual Worlds of Work Career Expo brings thousands of 8th grade and high school students from across West Alabama to learn about the many industries that drive the state’s economy. They are introduced to a variety of available career paths, many of which they may not have been aware of. Along with other design teams from the UA College of Engineering, ARES promotes higher education as a pathway to exciting careers in the space industry.

 
 
 

Women in STEM Day

The ARES Initiative participates in the annual Women in STEM day, hosted by the Alabama chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Girl Scout troops from throughout Tuscaloosa County visit campus to learn about careers in STEM fields through a series of breakout sessions that include engineering and science challenges. ARES members host the Fundamentals of Rockets breakout session, where girls learn how rockets work as well as the challenges involved with building them.