CA politics sends college rocketry team’s hopes up in flames

Citrus College’s rocketry club was selected to compete in NASA’s annual Student Launch Competition, but is being prevented from attending because of California politics.

The community college’s team was one of 45 selected to compete alongside several elite schools, such as Cornell University, Penn State University, and Purdue University, according to NASA’s press release.

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“NASA received more proposals for this year’s competition than they have for any previous year, making this one of the most competitive in the history of the competition,” the Citrus College Rocket Owls wrote on Facebook, expressing their excitement to be joining the contest.

However, a California legislation known as AB 1887 prevents the use of public funds for travel to states deemed discriminatory against the LGBT community, including Alabama, where this year’s Student Launch Competition is set to take place. According to, Alabama was added to the list after the state passed a law allowing faith-based adoption agencies to deny adoptions to gay couples.

As a result, the Citrus College Rocket Owls are prevented from participating in the competition, a move the school’s administration fully supports, according to ABC 7.

“The college stands with the State Chancellor, the Legislature, and the Governor in support of AB 1887 as a response against discrimination,” the school commented in a statement, noting that the team will instead “be participating in a rocket competition sponsored by Friends of Amatuer Rocketry/Mars Society to be held in Mojave, California.”

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Professor Paul Swatzel, however, is disappointed in the school’s decision, especially considering the fact that the team even started raising private funds to attend.

“The sad thing is, there are 5 other CA colleges going on private funds. Our students have private funds, yet there are not being allowed to go and compete,” Swatzel said on Facebook. “A once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski