Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
December 11, 1998

Solar car student exchange begins today

by Skip Derra

Iowa State's solar car team will send two of its members to Australia this month in what is believed to be the first international student exchange between solar car teams. The exchange program is between ISU's Team PrISUm and the solar car team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney.

Iowa State electrical engineering students -- Brian Moorhead from Davenport and Randy Ritt from Sherrill -- leave today (Dec. 11) for Sydney.

They will take part in pre-race activities with the UNSW solar car team members. The UNSW team plans to race its car from Perth to Sydney next month, with the goal of setting a speed record.

Engineering dean Jim Melsa said the college has an ongoing exchange with UNSW.

"We have been working very hard to expand international opportunities for students and this seems to be another excellent opportunity for them," Melsa said.

Iowa State's solar car team currently is building a new car, the PrISUm Phoenix, to race in Sunrayce '99, a 1,340-mile race from Washington, D.C., to Orlando, Fla., June 20-29, 1999.

While Moorhead and Ritt are in Australia, the UNSW team will be preparing for a run at the west-east (Perth-Sydney) transcontinental record in Australia. The team will first "tour" from Sydney to Perth before racing back to Sydney.

Moorhead and Ritt will travel with the Australia team during the non-racing portion of the trip to Perth. Moorhead said being with the UNSW team will be a valuable experience.

"This is when they will be working out the bugs of their car and refining their strategy," he said.

Students from the UNSW team will come to the United States next June. They will travel with Team PrISUm from Ames to Washington, D.C., in preparation for Sunrayce '99 and stay with the team during the race.

PrISUm Phoenix is the fifth solar car built by Iowa State students, who have participated in Sunrayce activities since 1990.

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