LIFT, Industry Partners Commit Support to University of Michigan Rocketry Team’s Goal of Launching to Space

LIFT and its members providing financial support and engineering, manufacturing expertise to the MASA team

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, and its members from Michigan and across the country have committed to supporting the University of Michigan MASA Team as it attempts to launch into space in 2021.

MASA is a student engineering team at the University of Michigan that is preparing to launch the first-ever student-built liquid-bipropellant rocket to space in 2021 for a $1M prize. The team is building and testing the rocket engine, welded aluminum propellant tanks, avionics, and other advanced hardware – it’s all part of the rocket that will take Michigan to space.

The MASA team recently made a presentation to LIFT members explaining the project and seeking assistance with engineering expertise, materials, or manufacturing since the teams time in its own lab is limited due to COVID-19. The team is also accepting financial support. LIFT has committed financial support to the team and is working on providing CNC machining assistance.

“The effort of the MASA team is a remarkable example of what a group of dedicated and capable students coming together with different backgrounds can achieve,” said Mirko Gamba, Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan. “From an educational prospective, this is a critical experience students can have and that will help prepare them for their future career. We are thankful for the support of LIFT and its industry partners who are pulling together their resources and expertise to move the project forward.”

“These students are attempting something amazing by executing a launching into space, they are at the leading edge of engineering and manufacturing in this country,” said Nigel Francis, LIFT Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. “Our work is centered around making the connection between materials, processes, systems and talent development for the future, and the MASA team is the great example of what can be achieved then those connections are made.”

The MASA team includes a number of project subteams, including: Aerodynamics & Recovery; Propulsion; Assembly, Test and Launch Operations; Structures, and; Avionics.

The team has already made connecting with LIFT members Boeing and Bond Technologies, among others, who have agreed to support engineering and welding aspects of the project.

More information on the MASA team and the program can be found at: