February 12, 2004

Team America Rocket Challenge 2004

Yesterday afternoon after work I met with the team of high school students that I'm mentoring for this year. Five city kids - three boys and two girls - who are going to design, build and fly a complex rocket with the hopes of earning scholarship money.

This is a bright and motivated group. They've already settled on their design and will be building two versions, one with balsa fins, and a second with fiberglass fins. Construction started last night, and we also went over some rocketry basics, simple aerodynamics, and I gave a quick demo on the flight simulation software they'll be using.

The quickie version of the task they're trying to accomplish is that they have to build and fly a two-stage rocket that will fly as close as possible to 1,250 feet in altitude (measured by an electronic altimeter carried onboard), and get it back. The payload they have to carry aloft is two fresh eggs, and they have to bring them back to earth unbroken.

They're competing with almost one thousand other teams from all around the US for scholarship money. The contest is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and NASA is heavily involved.

Some of the coolest perks from last years contest was for teachers to attend NASA educational workshops, and the top ten teams were given the opportunity to design science experiments that were carried aloft in NASA research rockets. Teams also got to meet shuttle astronauts and Homer Hickam, former NASA engineer and author of Rocket Boys (October Skies). Other guests attending the finals included Senator Enzi from Wyoming (a rocketeer and space proponent), as well as the honchos from NASA and Boeing.

For more information and details, please check out the rocketry links over on the right hand column, my Rocketry category, or this post.

Posted by Ted at February 12, 2004 08:39 AM
Category: Rocketry
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Site Meter