CHEYENNE — Just six days before the semester began, Tate Schrock signed up for classes at Laramie County Community College.
“It was actually kind of a shotgun decision that worked out almost perfectly,” Schrock, a northern Colorado native and aspiring entrepreneur, said. “It was very close, but I had toured the campus three months before. Being here, I think, will be extremely beneficial in the long term.”
In 2022, Schrock launched a business called EdgeFlyte, focusing on edge-of-space flight components and a digital platform. As he works toward an entrepreneurship credit diploma at LCCC, he has also continued to work on his business.
The project began under Scientific Platform for Atmospheric Research, or SPAR, programming primarily focused on implementing a hands-on project for STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — curriculum in classrooms for grades 5-12. Today, Schrock’s EdgeFlyte is focused on creating components to support edge-of-space flights for hobbyists, academics and possibly others, as well as providing a digital platform. Through the platform, researchers can view and share their data collected during edge-of-space flights.
“In the short term, EdgeFlyte is geared toward hobbyists, and in the longer-term, we would like to be able to deploy in classrooms, after-school programs and stuff like that,” Shrock said.
Edge-of-space flight typically refers to suborbital flights reaching the edge of space at around 100,000 feet above sea level. The flights reach a near vacuum environment, meaning there’s practically no pressure in the atmosphere, in temperatures as low as -70 degrees Celsius, and sometimes hit terminal velocity in their descents.
Hailing from a ranching and farming operation in northeast Colorado, Schrock saw LCCC as a great launch pad for his ambitions.
“The amount of resources, the facilities, networks and connections with people willing to help at any given time is completely unmatched,” he said.
Schrock’s studies coincide with an expansion of maker spaces, faculty, grant and scholarship opportunities at LCCC. On Friday, the college celebrated a ribbon cutting for the Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Center, or AMMC, in Cheyenne.
Shrock is a finalist for the Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad, or SEWYIL, a competition through IMPACT 307. IMPACT 307 launched SEWYIL in 2019, offering counseling and financial assistance for launching business ideas, both for- and not-for-profit concepts. Finalists have access to seed money to take their business past the conceptual stage and into real-world first article builds and initial sales.
The competition will identify finalists who will be eligible to apply for a portion of the $50,000 seed fund. SEWYIL, open to residents of Albany and Laramie counties, has launched 17 companies since its start. Schrock is also a finalist in the University of Wyoming College of Business 23rd annual John P. Ellbogen $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, with the competition’s final round April 21-22 in Laramie.
“Why not take a creative idea and try to make something with it? You have the resources at your disposal at LCCC to improve your skills and knowledge in ways that can open up opportunities,” Schrock said. “Who knows? It might turn into a multi-million dollar business.”