It's a classroom that looks a bit more like Cape Canaveral. Students at Redmond's Tesla STEM High School are quite literally becoming rocket scientists.

"I can say that to people, yeah," laughed senior Ethan Perrin.

Perrin dreamed of being as an astronaut as a little kid. As a young man, he is now on a launching pad to NASA, thanks to an ambitious school project.

"It's like somebody ordered a rocket, we have a year and a half to build it, and now we have to meet that deadline," he said.

The students are building an 8-foot, fully functional rocket that they hope will blast 24,000 feet into the air and then drift safely back to Earth.

Working with Redmond aerospace company Aerojet Rocketdyne, they're building and designing every facet of the project themselves. After more than a year of work, they've successfully test-fired engines they believe will provide enough boost to propel them into some rarified air.

In June the team of 40 students takes their rocket to Utah where they will compete with universities from across the country. Yes, universities, including the likes of MIT.

Tesla STEM is the only high school in America invited.

"This is so exciting to me because we wouldn't have thought of being able to build an actual rocket in high school...because it's a rocket...and we're in high school," chuckled senior project co-manager Pauline Pfaffe.

As you can imagine, building a rocket is an expensive venture. The students are trying to raise $9,000 to keep the project ready for lift-off. You can find their GoFundMe page here.

The students say just seeing their project lift off the ground to 40-feet would be a victory. If the rocket should crash and burn, Ethan Perrin hopes they fail as spectacularly as possible.

"We're not planning on that, but you have liquid oxygen, ethanol and solid rocket boosters exploding at the launch site. It'll be something to see, at least."