MSU Space Cowboys is Mississippi State University’s nationally competitive rocketry team open to all students at MSU. Every year, the structures, payload, and simulations sub-teams work together to design, build, and launch a rocket at competitions, including the IREC Spaceport America Cup, the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition. The Space Cowboys were the 2015 champions at IREC.
Space Cowboys gives new members the opportunity to be mentored by fellow teammates in high powered rocketry. Our mentorship program funds our members' individual certification efforts with the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) as long as the member mentors others along the building, simulation, inspection, and flight process.
Our hybrid and liquid propulsion sub-teams provide valuable research experience to the members of the team and introduce fundamental concepts of rocket propulsion. We are currently moving forward with the preliminary design process of both a hybrid and a liquid rocket engine. The Space Cowboys anticipate this work to continue and expect to eventually develop in-house propulsion systems. We also design and test experimental payloads, such as the arc experiment and the open flame experiment. The arc experiment was designed to test the effect of acceleration on the breakdown voltage of air, and the open flame experiment was designed to study the effects of a flame under high acceleration.
The Space Cowboys readily give back to our community. We work with Brickfire, an after-school program for at-risk youth, as well as local summer camps in the Golden Triangle area to teach local students about rocketry and STEM. The team also welcomes opportunities to work with other SEC schools’ rocket teams, including Ole Miss Rocket Rebels. The Space Cowboys hosted a certification launch day at MSU’s Dairy Farm and workshops on rocket design software for the Rocket Rebels (pictured below).