The country's first team to qualify for the world's largest intercollegiate rocket competition in the US is facing a shortage of funds to make it there in June.

According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), the 12-member Wau Rocketry team from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), led by 22-year-old Vanmitha Athimoolam, is short of RM70,000 from the RM190,000 needed for the trip to New Mexico for the 2022 Spaceport America Cup.

The team is the first Malaysian team to qualify for the competition, and will be one of 151 teams worldwide competing for the top prize.

The Malaysian team will launch a rocket called "Hebat", which they have been working on since last year. The goal is to let the rocket fly up to 3,000 metres and recover it safely on a parachute. In addition, the team will also have to deploy a nanosatellite at 275 metres and ensure it lands on its own using a quadcopter.

"Building a rocket is not easy. It has to be perfect. Our team has put a lot of work into it. As a result, our rockets have been strong and did well in data transmission tests. We are going to win," Vanmitha, who's doing her third year in aerospace engineering in USM, told the portal.

Vanmitha said she was inspired to join the competition after attending a workshop hosted by a rocket scientist two years ago.

She then assembled a team which included students from aerospace, mechanical and chemical engineering fields, who would take care of different functions during the launching of "Hebat."

The aspiring astronaut hopes their participation will set a benchmark for Malaysian students to go after their passion and dreams.

Out of the RM190,000 needed, the team has managed to RM120,200 so far from various sources, while Malaysia Airlines has agreed to sponsor five returns from Penang to the US, as well as 40 percent discount on the other tickets.

The team will be in the US for 11 days from June 16 for the competition.

Those who wish to help the Wau Rocketry team achieve their dream by participating in the competition can donate to USM’s Bank Islam account 08022010065458, with a recipient reference to “WAU ROCKETRY USM” and proof of transfer emailed to [email protected].

Source & Photo source: Free Malaysia Today