May 16, 2005

Team America Rocketry Contest update

This is the final prep week. Starting Friday evening, Mookie and I will be immersed in students and rockets. It looks like over 500 students and teachers will descend on our little corner of Virginia to launch raw eggs and see if their designs are successful enough to snag a share of the scholarship money. Most importantly though, these teams are the finalists, each scored well enough in the qualification round to place in the top 100 of over 750 entered teams.

The goal is difficult, and just getting a successful flight was a huge challenge. These kids are flying amazingly complex rockets, and making it look routine, that experienced rocketeers seldom attempted just a few years ago.

Speaking from experience, whoever said that you learn more from failures than successes, knew what they were talking about. Every team that attempted the challenge this year learned a lot about technology and various sciences, even if they never got their designs to work correctly. This year.

From the final status update:

This year we will have more media coverage, much more NASA/industry participation, and more elaborate site facilities than in previous years. Neither Senator Enzi [Wyoming - RJ] nor Homer Hickam can make it, but we are optimistic about the new NASA Administrator making it. The Marines are sending a flyover of helos from the Presidential helo squadron as part of the opening ceremony. We have a great HPR demo lined up for the end of the day, and Steve Humphrey and Paul Rodgers have built a full-size replica of Goddard's original rocket to fly as an afternoon demonstration flight as well. Goddard was a physicist, and our event co-sponsor this year is the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Kids and rockets, you can't go wrong with a combination like that. I'm gettin' excited!

Posted by Ted at May 16, 2005 11:21 AM
Category: Rocketry

Ted,any word on what time set-up will begin Friday?Also,what time do the opening ceremonies begin Saturday?

Posted by: Russ at May 16, 2005 03:55 PM

Friday setup will start at 9am and takes most of the day because the range layout is rather elaborate, especially compared to how we normally set up for club dates.

Opening ceremonies... Nothing specific in the schedule, so the best I can say is between 7am and 8am, which is when first flights are made.

Parking is $5.00 on Saturday. If it's the same as last year, a Scout Troop is handling parking as a fund raiser.

Posted by: Ted at May 16, 2005 04:23 PM

Very very cool. What a way to get kids interested in the sciences. I struggle with getting my kids to want to look into my profession. My eldest just took a trip to Cape Kennedy and NASA was able to do what I've been unable to.

Posted by: Boudicca at May 16, 2005 10:51 PM

I see from the crew list that Brian and Valerie will be joining Rachel moving flight cards around from the range to data reduction. I'm on safety check-in. Ivan and Marta will be handing out eggs. Should be a great day. See you Saturday morning at the crack o'dawn!

Posted by: Doug Pratt at May 17, 2005 09:44 AM
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