Named for the Daedalus Project, the scholarship is intended to “promote and support student entrepreneurship in aerospace.” It was endowed by AIAA president John Langford, founder of Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.
, a pioneer in unmanned aircraft and autonomous flight. Last year, the company was acquired by Boeing.
Zorek is president of Rice Eclipse
, Rice’s undergraduate student rocket team. After graduation, he will go to work as an engineer within the spacecraft propulsion group at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colo., where he worked as an intern last summer.
“The fact that John Langford chose me as a representative of Rice Eclipse is a testament to the brilliance and hard work of our members. The entire team deserves the credit for this,” Zorek said.
He credits Kaz Karwowski, executive director of the Rice Center for Engineering Leadership
, and NASA engineers with serving as mentors and helping the team develop hybrid rocket engines and solid motor launch vehicles.
The team continues to work on scaling up its propulsion systems, and building certification and competition rockets, with the long-term goal of flying a student-designed hybrid rocket engine. In June, the team’s rocket reached an altitude of more than 7,800 feet in the annual Spaceport America Cup competition.
The Daedalus Project was started to promote human-powered aircraft, and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It started at a meeting of the AIAA New England Section, when a member of the audience challenged Langford to recreate the flight of Daedalus – the first reference in Western literature to human-powered flight.
Langford and 39 other MIT students accepted the challenge, and ultimately set records for human-powered flight with a 72-mile flight between the Greek islands of Crete and Santorini. Those records stand today. AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society, with almost 30,000 members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members.