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All Girls Rocket Team Trial Launch Field Notes March 10, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in Clubs, contests, Teens.
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This year, our rocket team is participating in the Team America Rocketry Challenge again. We’re two of 15 teams competing from Massachusetts.

With guidance from mentor-scientists Timothy Dawson-Townsend and this team at Aurora Flight Sciences, Lizz Judge from Draper Labs and grad student Natalya Brikner from MIT’s Aero Astro Department, the two teams have been using a simulation program to design their own rockets that can meet these contest rules.

  • Target altitude of 800 feet
  • Duration of flight should be between 43-47 secs
  • Payload is two raw eggs
  • Gross liftoff weight of no more than 650 gms
  • Rocket motor total impulse limit of 80 N-s

The girls built their own rockets and put them to the test last month. The weather was good, but a rather stiff west wind made it a little brisk! They were really proud of themselves, AND the lesson about testing and redesign was indelible.

Please make a donation so we can buy more motors. We think the teams cam make it to the national finals, which will be on May 12 in Washington DC. Please help us send them there!

Here are the exciting results of the test launches.

Rockettes
Launch 1: Decent flight, only about 600′ altitude, though.
Launch 2: Ditto, one fin failed, so we had to re-glue it.
Launch 3: Bumped it up to a larger motor to get more altitude, and bigger parachute to slow it down. HOLY COW! Altitude 796′ and time 48 seconds – that’s a score good enough to go to the finals! But it was a practice.
Launch 4: Counting as a qualifying launch, we kept everything the same, and got a decent, but not stellar flight, 786′ and 58 seconds.

Rocka Flocka
Launch 1: Catastrophic motor failure on the launch pad was just enough “umph” to lob the rocket 20 feet into the air, with no parachute deployment. Came down nose first into the dirt, burying the nose cone 5 inches into the mud. Miracolously, the eggs survived! Did require minor repair before launch.
Launch 2: A good launch, but despite being taped on, the nose cone departed from the payload section, and the eggs were ejected from the payload, from about 600′ up. Needless to say, the eggs did not survive. =-(

Next launch in a few weeks while the girls refine their designs and rebuild. Stay tuned and let us know if you’d like to come join us!

Update: April launch
photos here

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Comments»

1. DNLee - March 14, 2012

You had me at Rocka Flocka! I love it!


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