USF rocket team hopes to see green and gold soar

- A team of students from USF is getting some help from a local business.  They're building a rocket for the NASA Student Launch competition this weekend.

They crafted the 12-foot rocket  from red fiberglass, but USF'S colors are green and gold.  So team member Stephanie Bauman had an idea: She walked into Jim's Body Shop in Seminole and met Tyler Depergola, whose family owns the shop.

"He said, 'Hey how you doing, need an estimate?' I said, 'How would you like to paint a rocket?'" recalled Bauman. "You should have seen his eyes light up."

The walls of the body shop are covered with pictures of custom cars and trucks with custom paint jobs, but no rockets. 

"I've had people ask me to paint a lot of things," offered Depergola, "But a rocket has to top the list."

He found a picture of a USF football helmet and matched the colors.  Then he drew the design, prepared the rocket, and sprayed it USF green and gold.

"I first saw it in pictures last week and it's like, I'm in love," laughed Danielle Petterson, a USF team member.

The USF  team, called SOAR -- Society Of Aeronautics and Rocketry -- will travel to Huntsville, Alabama for the competition that includes dozens of university teams from across the country.

They hope the rocket will fly thousands of feet into the air and safely deploy a landing module.

"If everything goes well, that will happen," says SOAR member Logan Sveum, "But it's rockets, who knows what will happen."

Team members say there is a competition for the rocket that looks the best.  They believe their newly-painted green rocket has a good chance.

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