Project Karman is an undergraduate student led initiative at UC Berkeley to design, build, and launch a rocket that exceeds 100 kilomters in altitude. They currently have a crowdfunding campaign underway, which has raised $13,725 so far towards a goal of $25,000 with 16 days left: UC Berkeley | PROJECT KARMAN: 1 Launch, 10 Months, 100 Kilometers to Space!
The group is also challenging students at other schools to compete with them to reach the Karman Line: PROJECT KARMAN goes global
Tonight, we officially challenged colleges across the globe to join us in the Intercollegiate Space Race of the 21st Century, competing to see who can truly be the first college team to reach space with its own rocket. Through the UN-backed World Space Week Association, we were able to broadcast this challenge internationally! See their Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/WorldSpaceWeek/posts/?ref=page_internal. To see more details regarding the formal rules of the competition, visit berkeleyse.org/spacerace.
A video about Project Karman:
And here is a profile of one of the students – Autumn Kleinman – working on the project: Rocket Ambitions: San Clemente Native Works on Suborbital Craft with UC Berkeley club | San Clemente Times.
The group estimates the final cost of the Eureka-1 rocket project to be about $250k. They hope to reach this figure with additional crowd-funding, grants, and sponsorships.
The goal is for Eureka-1 to be reusable and to fly many times:
While the technical know-how to send payloads to space has existed for over 60 years, the requisite technology has remained incredibly expensive, failure-prone, and dangerous to use.
Recent advances in materials science coupled with proprietary cost-saving technologies have allowed Space Enterprise at Berkeley to entirely eliminate the turbo pump, the single most expensive and delicate element of modern rocket engines.
This innovation has allowed us to reduce the typical $2.8 million price tag of a suborbital launch to less than $150,000. In addition, in-development recovery systems will allow for a fly-land-fly turnaround for Eureka-1. With full implementation of this system, Eureka could fly multiple times per week, with only a short refurbishment and refueling period between launches. This would reduce total launch cost to less than $10,000.
A couple of other videos from Project Karman: