Recently, I attended several Buckeye Space Launch Initiative (BSLI) meetings, which turned out to be more complex than the name even suggests. I found BSLI while walking around the involvement fair on the OSU oval. The scarlet and gray rockets stood out among the countless tables, instantly drawing any engineer’s eyes to the booth. Rocketry had always piqued my interest, and seeing several rockets out on the oval moved me to investigate. After listening to the presentation given by the student in front of the rocket, I knew that this was the club for me. This organization is unique due to how it is managed. It works more like three groups in one. There are three different teams each researching and manufacturing three different products. There is the 30,000 ft. rocket team that competes in the Spaceport America competition in New Mexico, the NASA SLI team competing for NASA at the Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, and the Liquid Propulsion research team, which hopes to develop a rocket engine that employs liquid fuel to reach space. Each group is so multi-faceted, with different subcommittees in charge of producing different parts of the rocket.
After attending the first general meeting for BSLI where all the groups meet together, I was sure I wanted to join the Liquid Propulsion research team and specialize in the combustion chamber and nozzle (known as the “hot stuff”) section of the engine. When I went to the first sub-team meeting for the Liquids group, I felt a little over my head. The group seemed to be made up of all second and third years who were already knowledgeable and experienced, with the exception of one other first year who I did not know. There was little introduction and we jumped right into research and modeling the rocket in the SolidWorks software, which I have zero experience with. The other first year, however, knew how to use the software a little, and helped me get a hang of the basics. Still I felt overwhelmed. I still am not sure what my final fit is in BSLI, but I am considering the NASA SLI team to help design the structure of the rocket.
After the Liquids group meeting, I attended the level 1 rocket certification meeting with my friend Nathan in order to learn rocket basics, rocket safety, and to be certified to fly low class rockets. This meeting felt a lot more comfortable and more designed toward first years, and having a friend there helped to process everything. I talked to the student leader after and learned that he was only a second year! He seemed super experienced and he was fun to talk with. I think most of the leaders in BSLI are interesting and cool, and very experienced with what they are doing. Personally, I would love to have the experience of being a leader in BSLI in the future. I think that by getting involved with BSLI, I can have real job experience related to my major of Aerospace engineering, and have fun while doing it. This could also be something that I can be proud to put on a future résumé and talk with an employer about. BSLI is not a club for everyone, but it is a club that I can definitely be involved in to get the most out of my college experience.
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Hi! My name is Noah Ludwig and I am currently a Freshmen at The Ohio State University.
I grew up in Ashland, Ohio and attended Ashland High School where I played football, competed in our school’s math competitions, and worked in a production team to produce two student movies. My undergraduate goal is to earn a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, which I intend to use to pursue a career in rocket mechanics and space flight. Currently I am looking to join the Buckeye Space Launch student club as well as the Engineers for Community Service club. Besides academics and student clubs, in my free time I love to play piano and bass in my hometown band, hike and climb mountains, and fish wherever I can.