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Rocket Project Receives Generous Gift from Richard Woodcock

The rocket “Lady Elizabeth,” named after Elizabeth Jackson Woodcock, rose 13,205 feet on Feb. 1.
By SDSU News Team
 

“Dr. Woodcock's passion-driven gift was an inspiration to us all. Without it, the record-breaking rocket launch that he attended in the Mojave Desert would not have happened.”

Rocket Project, a student-led organization at San Diego State University that designs, builds, and launches liquid- and solid-fuel rockets, recently received a $100,000 gift from Richard Woodcock.

Woodcock is a renowned psychometrician known for his several cognitive tests, including the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities and the Dean-Woodcock Neuropsychological Assessment System. He was introduced to SDSU’s Rocket Project in 2017 and has contributed a total of $300,000 to Rocket Project and frequently attends its launches in the Mojave Desert.

Woodcock’s recent gift played a large part in allowing the launch to take place and served as the catalyst for subsequent gifts to the Rocket Project.

"Dr. Woodcock's passion-driven gift was an inspiration to us all. Without it, the record-breaking rocket launch that he attended in the Mojave Desert would not have happened,” said Paul Fuerte, president of Rocket Project. “On behalf of SDSU's Rocket Project, we thank Dr. Woodcock for his time and treasure.” 

In appreciation of Woodcock’s latest gift, the Rocket Project named its rocket “Lady Elizabeth” after Elizabeth Jackson Woodcock, the late wife of Richard Woodcock and also an avid supporter of the Rocket Project. 

On Feb. 1, 2020, the “Lady Elizabeth” traveled 13,205 feet in altitude, a new high for the SDSU club. The students, who track rocket launches elsewhere, believe this is a record for a student built liquid bi-propellant rocket.

“Once we saw the launch, it was relief, excitement, and we felt proud of ourselves,” said Fuerte at the launch. 

The rocket was originally designed for the FAR/Mars competition, and used cryogenic (super cooled) liquid methane and oxygen, or methalox. It has a regenerative engine, meaning the chilled methane is used to cool down the engine so it can be used multiple times and have a longer burn time without damage. The students also experimented with custom-designed innovations to improve performance.
 
Rocket Project was founded in 2003 by five engineering students and has grown exponentially since then. The group’s previous launch, with a different set of students, was in 2012 when their rocket, the Galactic Aztec, reached 12,500 feet. That rocket used liquid oxygen and kerosene as propellants, had a wider body and an engine sourced from surplus sales of 1950s and ’60s era equipment.