Lebanon almost sent a rocket into space in the sixties! A group of six students from Haigazian University, led by Professor Manoug Manougian, started a club called Lebanese Rocket Society. They developed the first rockets in the Middle East!
. This story inspired a group of seven students from the American University of Beirut (AUB) who started a club called AUB Rocket Team (AUBRT) to continue Lebanon’s forgotten legacy and perhaps embark on a journey that could lead them to space. The members of the club are majoring in mechanical engineering, and they are assisted by four professors: Dr. Mohammad Harb (main adviser), Dr. Nasseem Daher, Dr. Ghanem Oweis, and Dr. Marwan Darwiche. The goal of AUBRT is to promote Lebanon’s image in the industry of aerospace engineering on an international level. The members seek to participate in the 2019 Spaceport America Cup that is organized by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA). It’s the world’s largest international academic rocket engineering competition for students. In this international competition, the participants must design, build, and launch a sounding rocket. AUBRT will participate with a Commercial off-the-Shelf (COTS) engine that can launch the rocket to 3048 meters minimum. Sounding rockets, also known as research rockets, land under a parachute and sometimes land in remote regions which complicates the recovery process. The AUB Rocket team is working on eliminating the need for human intervention in the recovery process. The rocket will also carry a payload to perform experiments in microgravity conditions and contribute to local research topics. This academic project is supported by AUB’s President Dr. Fadlo Khuri, the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, the Office of the Provost, and the Mechanical Engineering Department. The project will hopefully develop the aerospace engineering field in Lebanon and inspire other students to be part of this community.