Manipal Student Surya Nittur
4th Year Manipal Institute of Technology 2019

The thrustMIT Experience

Two and a half years ago, I made a decision that changed the course of my college days, I joined thrustMIT. It allowed me to spend my time productively and I got hands-on experience of theoretical concepts that we are taught. ‘thrustMIT’ was a very young team, barely a few months old started by a few of my friends with a passion for rocketry. It seemed like the ideal team for me, since I have always loved rockets from the time I went to the NASA space camp at Huntsville. I loved the fact that there were various kinds of student projects from which I could pick what I wanted to do. Some of the teams were just a couple of months old while some were almost a decade old!

Initially my role as Social Media Manager was to build the publicity of the team across the campus, to recruit more members into the team, as well as beyond, so that we could obtain sponsorships to supplement the generous grants that we received from MAHE. Soon, I became the Team Manager and I took up more responsibilities for the team, which helped me build my leadership skills which is now a very valued skill which most companies look for. At the unveiling of thrustMIT’s maiden rocket, Vyom, we had the Director of MIT as our chief guest and he had some very encouraging words for us before we went for the competition.

We participated in our maiden Spaceport America Cup, in June 2018 at New Mexico. It was an experience of a lifetime, watching rockets lift-off day in and day out in the middle of a vast expanse of the New Mexico desert! We learnt so much on designing and building better rockets from the judges, who have had years of practical experience in launching rockets. Our rocket, Vyom, took off on June 22nd, at 10am local time and as we watched with bated breath as it reached an altitude of about 4,000 feet above ground level and landed very close to the launch pad. We were so proud to be representing MAHE, and we were one among only two Indian teams there. As a gesture of the appreciation for the team’s effort, the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) awarded as on On-the-spot Award!

The skills that I honed such as working with a team, managing expenses, marketing, and sponsorship helped me build a solid base on which I could develop my career. These are skills that I could never have learnt by sitting in a class, it required practical experience and a passion to make our rocket soar and touch the sky!

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Kishlay KishoreManipal Academy of Higher Education