Member's Voice

FY 2024
  • Normando Dutra dos Santos Filho
    Current Affiliation :
    Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)
    Country/Region :
    Name : Normando Dutra dos Santos Filho

Hello everyone!

I'm Normando, a Brazilian Aerospace Engineering student at one of the top universities in Brazil and Latin America. I participated in the 2019 Sakura Science High School Program, and it represents, even nowadays, one of my best academic and life experiences. At that time, as a young student from a small town in the Amazon region of Brazil, the opportunity to visit major Japanese universities, museums, and technology centers was really exciting. It showed me another world that I had never seen before. After visiting the University of Tsukuba, the Tokyo Metropolitan University, and, of course, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), I had no doubt about what I wanted to do from that moment forward in my life.

Back in Brazil, I started to study Aerospace Engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. The undergraduate course is quite challenging, with all the calculus and science subjects, but what I want to share is about my Rocket Team: Fênix (Phoenix, in English). We are about 25 students divided into five subsystems that construct a real rocket: Propulsion, Electronics, Recovery, Aerodynamics, and Structures. These subsystems have to design and build each part of the rocket with the mission of achieving a target apogee, ejecting a satellite during the flight, and returning to the ground safely and (almost) ready to fly again!

Last year I was the Propulsion Director of the team and my mission was to design and test a rocket motor with solid propellant capable of flying the rocket as close as possible to 1000 meters above the ground. The first static test exploded like a big Starship (maybe not so much) but after some corrections and more tests, we had a reliable motor. The first flight of this Rocket was in the Latin American Space Challenge (LASC), and, believe it or not, we reached the unbelievable mark of 999.6 meters of apogee (an error of only 40 centimeters!), a historic record in Latin America's largest rocket competition.

Here is the Instagram profile of my rocket team:
Click the link so you can view some photos and videos of our projects!

In the future, I hope I can go back to Japan to study and/or work in some field related to my area of study, so I can give back in some way the good things that the Sakura Science Program brought to me, directly and indirectly. Thanks a lot!