As the only community college competing in the 2017 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, Owensboro Community & Technical College (OCTC) earned 27th place in the college division after completing two full rounds of the challenging course and was the 2nd highest placing rookie team.
While weather cut the 2018 competition short by a day, OCTC’s Rover Team placed 9th, completing the challenging course in 6:43, and boasted the second fastest “assembly” time, the time taken for the drivers to secure themselves safely in the rover.
Traditionally, a team would complete their first round, make adjustments and return for the second day of the competition. The 2019 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge will be held on April 12-13 in Hunstville, Alabama. OCTC will send two teams to the competition.
The OCTC Rover Team 1 is made up of Jeremy Hamilton, Nick Clouse, Courtney Wright, Elijah Christian (D), Tabatha Humphrey (D), Jacob Wethington. The OCTC Rover Team 2 is made up of Hunter Jarboe, Jessica Wimsatt, Casey Carmon, Olivia Jenkins (D), Gage Camron (D), Will Scott. The (D) designation denotes the students selected as drivers for the competition.
“The OCTC Team from 2018 was super pumped after doing so well on the first day. We received a lot of support from the community and the college and that made it even more special” commented Shawn Payne, faculty advisor for the teams.
After a spectacular rookie year, and again experiencing success in 2018, Payne wanted to take the lessons learned from those experiences and work with students to apply them as improvements for the 2019 competition. In addition, he felt that there was enough interest from the students to field a second Rover. OCTC’s Rover Team 1 and 2 worked collaboratively on both vehicles, but due to NASA requirements are listed as two separate teams.
Payne said, “We are one big rover team, until we arrive on site in Huntsville. Even then we are still one team – especially if a rover needs attention.”
Dr. Scott Williams, OCTC President added, “Anytime we can give our students experiences that involve applying classroom principles in a real-world environment is awesome. Combining that with NASA and the challenge of working as a team in such a competitive environment really opens the students up to a world of possibilities.”
Payne credits the teamwork among the students and faculty across many disciplines for their continued success.
“We couldn’t have made it without the help from Computerized Manufacturing & Machining (CMM) students, GO FAME CMM students, Industrial Maintenance Technology (IMT), and Welding faculty and students” added Payne. “We are able to field two teams because of student interest but also because of additional financial support.”
Additional help included support from Technical Training Aids, NASA Kentucky, Be Real Sports, the Alcoa Foundation, and the William & Marilyn Young Foundation.
This year’s OCTC Rover Team Committee consists of Randy Crowe and Danny Moseley-OCTC CMM Faculty, Dr. Meredith Skaggs-OCTC Communications Faculty, and Mary Kinney-OCTC’s Retention Coordinator and Adjunct Psychology Faculty.
2019 Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Alabama on April 12-13, 2019. The challenge is broadcast live on the internet with a tentative schedule on Friday, April 12 for OCTC Rover Team 1 (Race #13) to run between 7 – 8 a.m., and for OCTC Rover Team 2 (Race #14) to also run between 7 – 8 a.m. The tentative schedule for Saturday, April 13 for OCTC Rover Team 1 (Race #13) to run between 7 – 8 a.m., and for OCTC Rover Team 2 (Race #14) to run between 8- 9 a.m.
Community and campus members are invited to attend an OCTC Rover demonstration and information session on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at 11 a.m. in room 210 of the Advanced Technology Center on OCTC’s main campus, or you may contact email@example.com. Follow this year’s progress on Facebook.