Downey alumnus and Berkeley team look to the stars

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DOWNEY -- A Downey High alumnus and current sophomore at UC Berkeley is hoping to help put the first completely student developed rocket into space.

Paul Shin is currently leading the Space Enterprise at Berkeley Organization, which has taken it upon itself to tackle and complete an extraordinary task.

“The organization that I’m currently leading right now, it’s primarily about sending things into space,” said Shin. “We want to be a launch provider organization.”

To achieve that goal, Shin says that a vehicle is required. For shin and his team, that boils down to a rocket. That’s where Project KARMAN! And EUREKA-1 come into play.

“The literal definition of Project KARMAN! for us means to be the first university group to successfully fund, design, and build a rocket entirely developed by students that can be launched into space,” said Shin.

While other universities and groups have tried, Shin says there has yet to be a successful attempt to fund and build a rocket that could successfully pass the 100-kilometer mark called the Karman line, which is commonly seen as the boundary where “the sky ends and space begins.”

The rocket that Shin and his team hopes will pass that mark is the 16-inch in diameter, 30-foot in height liquid-fueled EUREKA-1, which would be able to take a payload mass of 5 kilograms.

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“We call it EUREKA-1 because we thought it would be kind of respectful to pay homage to the state that’s kind of supporting everything we’re doing,” said Shin. “We thought EUREKA was a fitting name because not only is it the motto for California, but it also is a word that is used to kind of indicate something new, like the start of something great.”

The team is currently on schedule to launch EUREKA-1 in nine months in July 2018 at SpacePort America, New Mexico.

Shin said that should Project KARMAN! and EUREKA-1 succeed, it “would show the new capabilities of what college students are able to do.”

“Simply proving to the world that college students are able to do such a feat and accomplish such a feat, it’s a eureka moment,” said Shin. “It’s an awakening… our big vision is to inspire the youth, the young in different continents, different backgrounds, to pursue their dreams, especially in the space industry…”