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Save the Date: Ascending Aggies on National Geographic Channel April 25

Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014

poster for ‘Showdown of the Unbeatables’

Watch a team of Utah State University Engineering students who developed the award winning Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber, or PVAC, compete against world champion rock climber Tori Allen on an episode of Showdown of the Unbeatables, airing Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m.  (MT) on the National Geographic Channel.

In response to the 2011 Air Force Research Laboratory’s Design Challenge, a group of Utah State University mechanical and aerospace engineering students known as the Ascending Aggies pulled out their best superhero tricks, using engineering principals, some basic math and a lot of ingenuity, to design a system for special operations force personnel to scale buildings or mountain faces under a variety of conditions. The design was a success that garnered the group first place in the national competition.

Using three components — a vacuum ascender, an adhesive anchor and a rope ascender — the Utah State University team took its design to the National Center for Medical Readiness training facility in 2012 to compete against 16 universities that included Arizona State, Johns Hopkins and Brigham Young University for the top honor.

Preview photos of the episode are available online.

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