Category Archives: Rocketry

Winners of the Reach for the Stars National Rocket Competition honored by NAR, AIAA, Estes and Homer Hickam

An announcement from the Reach for the Stars organization:

NAR, AIAA, Estes and Homer Hickam Honor
Reach for the Stars – 
National Rocket Competition Winners at Space Camp

Three winners of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition: Kalli Riemer, Emily Schmidtlein and Maya Watson celebrated with their families at Space Camp in “Rocket City” Huntsville, Alabama. For the past 9 years – over 50 percent of the national winners have been girls!  Girl Scouts have taken an amazing seven national wins.

2015Winners-2

Contestants in the competition had to build and launch their own solid-fuel powered rocket. The competitions were held in their area by schools, scouts, youth groups and Challenger Learning Centers. The closest average landing by parachute to a target after two launches wins the local event. Local winner’s results are submitted to the national competition headquarters.

In response to the nations call for more interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) activities – nearly 2000 kids across the nation participated in the ninth annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. At the end of the competition those who had the “Right Stuff”* were victorious. The annual Competition, for ages ten to eighteen, runs continuously. More information about this and the Astronaut Hall of Fame Event is available at www.therocketman.net .

The national winners launched their rockets in celebration under an “October Sky” from Homer Hickam Field.** Most of the competitors and many of the family and friends have read his inspirational book, Rocket Boys or seen the movie,October Sky. Competition director, Jack Colpas says, “Getting the opportunity to launch their rockets from an exciting location is an important part of the celebration.”

In addition to the launch, the kids were awarded a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative coin and certificate that honor the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe and the crew of the Challenger. The certificates are signed by Captain Jon McBride, who piloted Challenger on one of its earliest missions. They also received an autographed photo and letter of congratulations from author, Homer Hickam. Estes – the world leader in educational rocketry provided $200 to help with travel expenses and a model rocket for each winner.

Presentation was made by Vince Huegele, educational chair for the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), Matt Green – Space Camp Operations, US Space & Rocket Center and G. Alan Lowrey – Regional Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Matt Green put the winners through their paces as they experienced the Astronaut Training Simulators at Space Camp. They took turns walking in the 1/6 gravity of the moon, moved about mock space in a MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) and tested their intestinal fortitude in the Spatial Disorientation Simulator. Alan Lowrey photographed the kids throughout the day. The pictures are available at www.flickr.com/photos/OctoberRockets

Then they got to tour the US Space & Rocket Center with their friends and families.Two teachers, Tina Hackey and Dennis O’Connell – whose efforts produced a national winner – joined in the celebration. The group gets to visit the Space Shuttle Simulator – Pathfinder, see the amazing display at Rocket and Shuttle Parks, the Apollo Courtyard and the Saturn V Hall. “The U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The Center has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world.” (rocketcenter.com/museum )

This is a fantastic opportunity for a young rocketeer. Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition directors Jack and Kathy Colpas boast, “National winners receive memories to last a lifetime – and bragging rights for generations to come.”

  • Kalli Riemer competed at Crystal River Primary School, in Crystal River, Florida under teacher, Christina Hackey.
  • Emily Schmidtlein joined in with her STEM Class at North Kansas City High School, N. Kansas City, Missouri in a competition run by Teacher, Dennis O’Connell.
  • Maya Watson launched during a STEM Summer Camp under the direction of Dr. Ellyn Savard of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut.
  • Alani Davidson won the honors with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma with under Scout Leader, Chris Simon. Alani was unable to attend and will receive her award at a Girl Scout event in Oklahoma.

Model rocket manufacturer Estes, the world leader in educational rocketry, provided $200 in prize money to the top three national winners. The prize money is provided to help with travel expenses. Travel funding is crucial. These kids have earned the right to attend the national winners’ celebrations.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Hampton Inn – Huntsville joined together to provide unforgettable memories for the national winners of the annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. Tickets to Space Camp, plus discounted lodging and free breakfast are being provided for four winners and their families. Without the generosity of these companies, this winners’ celebration would not be possible.

Corporate sponsors are needed to ensure kids nationwide have the opportunity to compete. Sponsors receive national recognition and the satisfaction of Helping Kids Reach for the Stars.

Jack and Kathy Colpas, co-directors of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition are retired public school educators. “Our goal is to give kids the educational experience of building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket. Our purpose is to foster an interest in model rocketry, STEM subjects and aeronautics. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe.”

—-

* Thomas Wolfe, The Right Stuff – (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 1979

**Homer Hickam is the author of the memoir, Rocket Boys. which became the inspirational movie October Sky.

Reach for the Stars: Rocketry contest winners to celebrate at Space Camp

An announcement from the Reach for the Stars program:

Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition Winners
to Celebrate at Space Camp

In response to the nations call for more interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) activities – over 1000 kids across the nation participated in the ninth annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. At the end of the competition those who had the “Right Stuff”* were victorious. The annual Competition, for ages ten to eighteen, runs continuously.

9th winners' collage sm b_topGirl Scouts of Connecticut – winner Maya Watson

With minds set on the task at hand, competitors prepared their rockets, aimed the launch rod and awaited the countdown. “Ready light – On!” 10…9…8…7… “All systems – Go.”  6…5…4… Everyone held their breath. 3…2…1…  With a whoosh, the small rocket leaped from the launch pad and soared hundreds of feet into the air. All eyes turned skyward. “Wait for it…Wait for it!” With a pop, the parachute opens and the rocket descends for a near perfect touch-down.

Contestants in the competition had to build and launch their own solid-fuel powered rocket. The competitions were held in their area by schools, scouts, youth groups and Challenger Learning Centers. The closest average landing by parachute to a target after two launches wins the local event. Local winner’s results were then submitted to the national competition headquarters. This produced four national winners.

The winners of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket CompetitionAlani Davidson, Kalli Riemer, Emily Schmidtlein and Maya Watson will celebrate with their families at Space Camp in “Rocket City” Huntsville, Alabama. All national winners will launch their rockets in celebration under an “October Sky” from Homer Hickam Field.** Most of the competitors and many of the family and friends have read his inspirational book, Rocket Boys or seen the movie, October SkyCompetition director, Jack Colpas says, “Getting the opportunity to launch their rockets from a exciting location is an important part of the celebration.”

9th winners' collage sm b_botNorth Kansas City High School –
winner Emily Schmidtlein (2nd from left, top row)

In addition to the launch, the kids will be awarded a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative coin and certificate that honor the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe and the crew of the Challenger. The certificates are signed by Captain Jon McBride, who piloted Challenger on one of its earliest missions.

Winners get to experience the Astronaut Training Simulators at Space Camp. They will take turns walking in the 1/6 gravity of the moon, move about mock space in a MMU (Manned Maneuvering Unit) and test their intestinal fortitude in the Spatial Disorientation Simulator.

Then they get to tour the US Space & Rocket Center with their friends and families. The group gets to visit the Space Shuttle Simulator – Pathfinder, see the amazing display at Rocket and Shuttle Parks, the Apollo Courtyard and the Saturn V Hall. “The U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The Center has one of the largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia anywhere in the world.” (rocketcenter.com/museum )

This is a fantastic opportunity for a young rocketeer. Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition directors Jack and Kathy Colpas boast, “National winners receive memories to last a lifetime – and bragging rights for generations to come.”

  • Alani Davidson won the honors with the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma with under Scout Leader, Chris Simon.
  • Kalli Riemer competed at Crystal River Primary School, in Crystal River, Florida under teacher, Christina Hackey.
  • Emily Schmidtlein joined in with her STEM Class at North Kansas City High School, N. Kansas City, Missouri in a competition run by Teacher, Dennis O’Connell.
  • Maya Watson launched during a STEM Summer Camp under the direction of Dr. Ellyn Savard of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut.

For the past 9 years – over 50 % of the national winners in the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition have been girls!  Girl Scouts have taken an amazing seven national wins.

Model rocket manufacturer Estes, the world leader in educational rocketry, provided $200 in prize money to the top three national winners. The money is provided to any competitor who wins the national event using Estes rocket supplies. The prize money is provided to help with travel expenses. Three of the national winners will be traveling tothe US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Travel funding is crucial. These kids have earned the right to attend the national winners’ celebrations.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Hampton Inn – Huntsville joined together to provide unforgettable memories for the national winners of the annual Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. Tickets to Space Camp, plus discounted lodging and free breakfast are being provided for four winners and their families. Without the generosity of these companies, this winners’ celebration would not be possible.

Corporate sponsors are needed to ensure kids nationwide have the opportunity to enter the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. Sponsors receive national recognition and the satisfaction of Helping Kids Reach for the Stars. More information is available at www.TheRocketman.net .

Jack and Kathy Colpas, co-directors of the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition are retired public school educators. “Our goal is to give kids the educational experience of building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket. Our purpose is to foster an interest in model rocketry, STEM subjects and aeronautics. Our mission is to keep alive the memory of the first Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe.”

Thomas WolfeThe Right Stuff – (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) 1979

**Homer Hickam is the author of the memoire, Rocket Boys which became the inspirational movie October Sky.

Hybrid rocket test at Indian university + 15th NASA Student Launch Competition

A couple of university rocket items:

** Aerospace Engineering Department Research – Sounding Rocket Systems – Rajesh Muneshwar,  head of Aerospace Engineering Department at the International School of Professional Studies in India tells me his student group has built and test fired their first hybrid rocket motor. This is the first non-government Indian hybrid as well. It is a prototype for a motor that will power the upper stage of their planned 45 km Gyan darshan Rocket.

DSCN0954

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See a video of a test. (I worry about the student being a little too close to the test…)

** NASA Hosts Student Rocket Fair, Helps Students Launch High-Power Rockets

vandy_team_[2]University students prepare their rocket for launch at NASA’s
2012-2013 Student Launch challenge near NASA’s Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

 More than 30 high school, college and university teams will launch student-built rockets during the 15th annual NASA Student Launch event April 10-11 near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Middle school and high school teams will launch their rockets to an altitude of one mile, deploy onboard science experiments and land safely using a system of recovery parachutes. University and college teams will participate in either the Mini-Mars Ascent Vehicle (Mini-MAV) or the Maxi-Mars Ascent Vehicle (Maxi-MAV) divisions. Mini-MAV teams must use a robotic system to autonomously load a payload into their rocket, launch to half a mile and eject the payload during descent. Maxi-MAV teams, competing for a share of $50,000 in prize money, will attempt to meet more autonomy requirements before also launching to a half mile.

All launches will take place at Bragg Farms in Toney, Alabama. Maxi-MAV launches begin at 10 a.m. CDT and will run until approximately 5 p.m. on April 10. Mini MAV and middle and high school launches begin at 7:30 a.m. and run until completed April 11. In the event of rain, the event will move to April 12.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 9, students will participate in a Rocket Fair at Marshall’s Activities Building 4316, where they will give technical presentations to, and get valuable feedback from, engineers and team members from NASA and Student Launch corporate sponsor Orbital ATK.

….

Student Launch is open to public viewing and will be aired live on NASA Television and Marshall’s Ustream and Twitter accounts, at:

For more information on Student Launch, visit: www.nasa.gov/education/studentlaunch

Continue…

‘Team America Rocketry Challenge’ – thousands of students participate in rocketry competition

An announcement from the Aerospace Industries Association about the annual Team America Rocketry Challenge:

Thousands of students participate in world’s
largest rocketry competition

The Team America Rocketry Challenge launches into
qualifying rounds for the 2015 contest

Arlington, Va. – Nearly 4,000 middle and high school students across the country are gearing up for the 2015 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), the aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program to inspire young people to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year, close to 700 teams representing 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are designing and building model rockets as they contest to qualify for the national finals scheduled for Saturday, May 9 in The Plains, VA.

Structured to emulate the aerospace industry’s engineering design process, TARC challenges teams to design and build a model rocket that can travel to a height of 800 feet and back within 46 to 48 seconds. Each rocket will carry one raw egg that must return safely to the ground undamaged. Scores are determined by how close the rockets come to the required height and time; damaged eggs disqualify flights. To encourage ingenuity and creativity, students are challenged with new design and flight requirements each year.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry and 27 industry partners, the contest aims to strengthen U.S. student engagement with STEM. “TARC has evolved from a one-time celebration of flight to an established and globally-recognized STEM education program,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “We’re confident that the contest will continue to inspire students to advance their studies in science and math, and eventually consider career opportunities in the aerospace and defense industry.”

This year’s contest has attracted a wide variety of American youth including 41 all-girl teams, several teams utilizing 3-D printers to develop rocket components, a marching band and six Boy Scout troops. Teams have until March 30 to launch and submit their qualifying flight scores. The top 100 scoring teams will advance to the National Finals.

Participants compete for scholarships and prizes totaling more than $60,000 and the title of champions of the world’s largest student rocketry competition. The winning team will also travel to the Paris International Air Show in June courtesy of the Raytheon Company to compete in the International Rocketry Challenge. The American team will face off against teams from the United Kingdom and France in hopes of claiming the gold.

For more information about the Team America Rocketry Challenge, please visit www.rocketcontest.org. TARC is made possible by the generous support of our industry sponsors listed below:

Diamond Sponsor:         The Raytheon Company

Platinum Sponsors:       Lockheed Martin Corporation and Thales USA

Gold Sponsor:                  Microsemi Corporation

Silver Sponsors:              Accenture, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Aurora Flight Sciences, The Boeing Company, Cubic Corporation, Elbit Systems of America , Embraer Aircraft Holding, GE Aviation, Harris Corporation, Honeywell Aerospace, Iron Mountain, Kaman Aerospace, L-3 Communications Corporation, LMI Aerospace, Micro-Coax, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Parker Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Rolls Royce North America, RTI International Metals, Space Exploration Technologies, United Technologies Corporation, and Woodward, Inc.

Here’s a video from last year’s competition:

South African Rocketry Association building and launching hybrid rockets

Justin Gomersall dropped me a note about SARA – South African Rocketry Association. He says that they

have been around since the early 90’s and have been experimenting in amateur rocketry ever since.

In 2013 we built, launched, tracked and recovered an N-class hybrid rocket (Vulcan 2) to 9.5 kilometers. We will have another attempt this year hopefully in March to go higher with Vulcan 3 – More info on www.sarocketry.co.za and on Facebook – SARA rocketry.

image020[1]Vulcan 2 hybrid rocket launch by SARA on Sept. 23, 2013.

PIC10[1]GPS tracking of the Vulcan 2 trajectory. 

PIC3[1]The SARA team at the launch.