• Baylor student sets sights on amateur space record


    As a first-grader, at an age when most children are playing with the popular toys of the day and watching their favorite cartoons, Kevin Healy was building a hovercraft out of a leaf blower. In high school, he built an electric car out of a 1981 Toyota Celica.

    So, what is Healy, a mechanical engineering major who just completed his sophomore year at Baylor, planning for an encore? A rocket — one that, if all goes as planned, will launch into space before the year is through.

    Healy leads the Horizon Rocket project, building a rocket that he hopes will top the amateur altitude record of 72 miles. With the help of Baylor professors, chemist Vanessa Castleberry (PhD ’10), SpaceX (a private space transportation company with a development facility outside Waco), and private donations he’s solicited, Healy intends to launch in December and provide the scientific community a platform that will expand the boundaries of scientific research and exploration.

    Healy says the project will cost about $25,000, an amount he has to raise. His personal interest is part of a move of space exploration from the public sector to the private sector in the wake of budget cuts to NASA. Healy says he hopes his work will inspire others to keep exploring and innovating, as well as interest a younger generation in space exploration.

    Sic ’em, Kevin!

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