Reach for the stars with UWF’s rocket enthusiasts


Darsh Matiwala

Tyler Luong, Staff Writer

Among the various clubs offered at UWF are the UWF Rocket Club and the Argo Armada enterprise team.

The UWF Rocket Club is a student organization dedicated to model rocketry enthusiasts who like to build rockets for fun. The club is open to students across all majors. The Argo Armada, on the other hand, is an enterprise team for the Department of Mechanical Engineering, exclusive to mechanical engineering majors.

Although the two organizations are independent of one another, they are frequent collaborators in pursuit of the same goal.

The ultimate aim of both organizations is to build high-powered rockets and participate in competitions to achieve the highest level of High-Power Rocketry certification from the National Association of Rocketry.

The most recent launch event attended by the Argo Armada was earlier this month on Nov. 6 at the Southeast Alabama Rocketry Society in Samson, Alabama. Here, the Argo Armada’s very own Darsh Matiwala, a junior mechanical engineering major, achieved his Level 1 certification.

The Level 1 certification is the first of the three tiers of the National Association of Rocketry certifications.

“On paper, to be L1 certified, one must design and build a rocket capable of accepting a Level 1 category motor,” Matiwala said. “This same rocket must then be launched and recovered with minimum damage done to it. Once the rocket has been recovered, one must present it to two certifying officials present at the site and have them sign off on a successful certification flight and recovery. To be Level 1 certified for anyone means that one is able to demonstrate competency in constructing high-powered rockets.”

After achieving his Level 1 certification, Matiwala is already looking ahead toward his next milestone. 

“To me, being Level 1 certified means a step in the right direction, because it allows me to attempt a Level 2 certification with my next rocket,” he said.

With his passion for rocketry and robotics, Matiwala aspires for his dream job of working on a NASA project one day.

Currently, the goal of the Argo Armada team is to design and build a “dual deploy” rocket, and then get two of their members Level 2 certified at the next meeting.

If you are interested in joining the UWF Rocket Club, contact them on Facebook to learn more.