USF rocket team aims for space -- and a $1M prize

The privatization of space exploration has re-energized the aerospace industry. It's also created a new level of excitement in younger generations.

One rocketry club at the University of South Florida is soaring into the future. SOAR, or the Society of Aeronautics and Rocketry at USF, has been designing, building and launching rockets for six years. 

"This is where you get to learn how to be actual rocket scientists," explained club president Javian Hernandez.  "We're a student group who likes to make strides and push the boundaries of what it means to be an engineer, or even a rocket scientist."

Hernandez says not all members are destined for careers in the aerospace industry. 

"A lot of us just aren't engineers; we have physics majors, math majors, some business majors. But we just all joined this club for the love of rocketry."

SOAR is competing against 17 other university rocketry clubs in a race to the edge of space called the Base Eleven Space Challenge. The winning team will get a million-dollar prize.

A recent test of an SOAR’s advanced liquid-fueled rocket engine did not go as planned, but they’ll be testing it again in March.