UBC rocket team wants to reach the edge of space

The SpaceX launch today is a glimpse of the new frontier of rocket science for students at UBC.

'I’d love to be a part of the team that goes and recovers that Tesla': Joren Jackson, UBC Rocket team lead

The UBC Rocket team won first place for its rocket in the 10,000 feet Commercial Off the Shelf category at the Spaceport America Cup 2017. They're recruiting members and hoping for another win at this year's competition. (UBC Rocket/Facebook)

Tuesday's SpaceX launch is a glimpse of the new frontier of rocket science for students at UBC.

The private space company tested its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time Tuesday by sending a Tesla Roadster out into space. The successful return of two of the three boosters is an exciting event for the next generation of scientists.

Joren Jackson is a team lead with UBC Rocket, and said the team was glued to a few laptop screens as it watched the launch as a group.

UBC Rocket is a student engineering team that designs and launches its own rockets, one of which earned first place in its class at the Spaceport America Cup last year in New Mexico.

Jackson said they're returning to the competition this year with a new rocket that will go three times higher than their prize-winning model and will break the sound barrier, a first for the team.

"We're all super excited about what's going on in the space industry and a lot of us want to get involved in that in some way," he told On The Coasthost Gloria Macarenko.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off from historic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Feb. 6, 2018. (Reuters)

The team is currently recruiting new members to help them achieve its long-term goal of sending a rocket to the edge of space, about 100 kilometres above the earth's surface.

"No student team has ever done that before. One amateur group has made it to the edge of space before, but we'd be joining a pretty select few entities that have sent something outside of the earth's atmosphere," Jackson said.

For Jackson, the launch signifies a step forward for SpaceX's goals for taking humans into space and for interplanetary travel, and he looks forward to the development that will follow.

"I'd love to be a part of the team that goes and recovers that Tesla," he said.

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

With files from On The Coast