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Does anyone know of a rocketry contest like this?

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powderburner

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I was contacted recently by someone looking for help with a rocket design. It was not clear to me whether they had to loft a one-pound payload to an altitude of one mile, or it they were supposed to deliver it to a landing site one mile away. Either way, has anyone heard of this?

The original note that I received:

Ok here is the situation. My class is goin to Fredricksburg Tx. in April to launch a rocket. Well my problem is that i dnt have any idea of a design i could use. Use have been using Rocksim and everything but i still dont have any idea on one. The objective of the launch is to send a one pound payload 1 mile. Well that my problem, any ideas?? There isnt a limitation on wat we can put onto this rocket. I would lvoe if i could hear some ideas from you.!

I will freely admit that I have not heard of every single rocketry-related event going on the world, but I can't figure out what this guy might be referring to.

Anyone else know?
 

MarkII

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A college class project or assignment, perhaps? Was this request sent to you by someone you know? I can understand a project to loft a payload to 5300 feet AGL, but if the task is indeed to send a payload one mile downrange, that's a little.... weird.

MarkII
 
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JAL3

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You might send a note to Art Applewhite. I have a vague memory of him mentioning some type of camp/contest near Fredrickburg. If memory serves, it has not gone too well in the past. I don't remember what group was involved.
 

proflaser

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Fredericksburg is definitely the SystemGo program. Sounds like the student has waited a bit long to get a rocket together. A TARC team could scramble up a model by April for a qualification attempt, but a school L2 type bird going to a mile and taking data should be on the workbench by now.
 

Mikus

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Heh, as much attention to detail as he put into his proofreading....

An L2 bird is probably one of the last things this kid should have. Sad. :(
 

powderburner

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That IgniteEducation contest sure looks like what this question is about. Thanks, Peartree, for finding that info.

OK, so maybe this guy did wait a bit too long to get started, but if he has never done this before (I'm guessing) how would he know how much is involved? Can anyone help him anyway? (Wouldn't it be kinda nice to actually encourage the guy to start into this hobby?)

I am not familiar with all the product lines from all the vendors, so I can't give him any ideas what to look at either. Maybe one (or two?) of you guys could make a few suggestions as to what kits might work for this contest, who the vendors are, and how he could order them? And if he seems to be having trouble using rocsim (and I can't laugh at him one bit for that, I never could make much sense of it either) maybe someone could post an example file that shows how to input the rocket, the motor, and the payload?

From the sounds of this (one pound payload, one mile altitude, etc) it seems to me that he is going to need more than mid-power to make this flight work. If so, how do they expect a bunch of beginners to jump straight to high-power rocketry, and are all these guys supposed to get their motors at the same time they are applying for their LEUPs? Are they going to have to glass these rockets? Use onboard electronics? Build an entire launch system for only a few flights? I really like that someone has organized a learning/training event like this where new people can be introduced to the hobby, but this contest seems a bit goofy in its setup if it requires such a giant first step.



Heh, as much attention to detail as he put into his proofreading....

An L2 bird is probably one of the last things this kid should have. Sad. :(
Now come on, folks---I don't know that I am "talking" to a "kid," he could easily be an adult, and regarding his spelling: have you guys looked at some of the stuff that YOU post? Let's not get started down that road. Can we help this guy out?
 

n5wd

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Either way, has anyone heard of this?
It's called IGNITE, and was originated at the Fredricksburg High School about seven or eight years ago. There are at least three high schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth that are doing the curriculum: Coppell, Irving Academy, and one of the private schools in southwest Fort Worth (I forget the name... it's not Country Day - maybe Southwest Christian or something like that). We may be doing the program at Northwest in our STEM Academy in the future, as well.

And yes, the goal is one pound payload to one mile altitude.

Jack Sprague, our DARS mentor, got a similar contact from another kiddoh that's participating in one of the above school's programs. He plans to launch one pound of bubblegum as the payload, and was wanting similar info about the rocket.

Sounds like they need an experienced mentor - why not attempt to talk with the instructor of the course to see what help they need. If you're not up to it, might contact Jack and see if we can find someone from DARS that has the time to work with them - I'm keeping Jack and Suzy pretty busy at Northwest, so I'm not giving them up without a fight! ;)

Yeah, if they're flying in April, I'd have expected them to be a little more locked down in their design - that's about 70 days away (he says, knowing that we're headed to Huntsville in the same time, and we've already flown our half-scale model twice, locked our design down, and are beginning construction of the flight vehicle for the SLI program.

Here's a You Tube of the NBC News story about the program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFQfaAc__yE
and there's been a couple of other videos mentioned in the various Rocketry Planet posts.
 
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NjCo

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So how exactly does the program work? Is this a curriculum designed for everyone in a grade level or a particular class or is it available only for those that are interested? And how much experience do these kids have with low power rockets in the class before they are asked to design a big rocket? Is it a club or a class? It looks like kids are grouped in teams as in TARC but is the mentor a teacher in a class? A person with some high power experience? An volunteer parent? I'm trying to get a feel for the level of teaching/mentoring going on. The kid (assumed) in the original post doesn't really seem like he has much direction. But he still has the brains to track down someone in rocketry in his state and ask a question. But why isn't he asking questions of his teacher/mentor if he has no clue how to start?
 

n5wd

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So how exactly does the program work? Is this a curriculum designed for everyone in a grade level or a particular class or is it available only for those that are interested?
The IGNITE curriculum is intended (by which I mean, it was written so that it satisfies the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements for an upper level physics or engineering/technology course) as a high school course. Most schools would implement it as a one or two-year course (it has options for both) in the junior or senior year of high school.

I can't tell you how anyone else selects the students - some have it as an elective, some have it as part of a predetermined academy curriculum... the high school where I teach is looking at it as one of two courses offered to juniors in our Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy that just got started this year with the freshman class... so it'd be a couple of years before it's regularly offered.

And how much experience do these kids have with low power rockets in the class before they are asked to design a big rocket?
The first year curriculum begins the kids making small A & B powered rockets, learning the basics and how to apply the physics of powered flight to a practical application like a rocket. As they gain experience, they construct larger rockets, some carrying a payload, etc. By the second semester, the kids should be working on a rocket that's capable of carrying one pound to one mile. In the past, the BATFE APCP regulations have made it so that the curriculum used hybrids, since they weren't regulated. Don't know if the curriculum or any of the schools are switching to APCP (which would be my choice since it increases the likelyhood of a successful flight the first time). The culmination of the school year is when all of the schools are invited to Fredricksburg to a launch day activity to fly their rockets.

There is an option for a second year of the curriculum... Fredricksburg HS traditionally works on a larger research rocket that they fly out at White Sands Missile Range. Don't know if any of the other adopters are also working on such a project.

Is it a club or a class?
While I suppose that you might consider doing some of the curriculum as an extracurricular activity, everyone I know of is doing it as a curricular or co-curricular class (meaning that it either is done completely in the classroom, or that components of it may be done outside of the classroom, like TARC or SLI or Rockets in Schools along with the classroom component).

It looks like kids are grouped in teams as in TARC but is the mentor a teacher in a class? A person with some high power experience? An volunteer parent? I'm trying to get a feel for the level of teaching/mentoring going on.
I know that at Coppell High School (in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex), it's taught by an instructor, assisted by experienced parents who are very experienced in HP rocketry. Our plan is for me (NAR L2) to teach, and most likely have some help with the folks who now mentor my TARC and SLI teams. Again, can't tell you what everyone else is doing.

The kid (assumed) in the original post doesn't really seem like he has much direction. But he still has the brains to track down someone in rocketry in his state and ask a question. But why isn't he asking questions of his teacher/mentor if he has no clue how to start?
I would make no assumptions about how the class was presented by the questions that person asked... sometimes kids say and do the exact opposite of what they should be doing. I know that the program offers support to all of the schools, but that experience levels of teachers vary greatly. I did observe part of the weeklong teacher training summer before last and was very impressed with the curricular material being presented, which is why I'm such a proponent for it to be taught in our school district.

The IGNITE program's website has a lot of information about the curriculum, including a list of the schools involved with the program, and lots of photos and videos of the annual launch day activity that they host in Fredricksburg each year.
 

NjCo

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Thanks very much for all the info. I looked over the website and it looks like a neat program. I'm sure most of the kids get a lot out of it.
 

MarkII

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The kid (assumed) in the original post doesn't really seem like he has much direction. But he still has the brains to track down someone in rocketry in his state and ask a question. But why isn't he asking questions of his teacher/mentor if he has no clue how to start?
Just speculating here, but one possible scenario is that someone suggested to him that he research some questions on his own, and mentioned either powderburner personally, or mentioned his club (which led him to powderburner) as a source to approach for information. Just a possibility. Teachers not only like it when students learn the answers, but also learn where they can go to find the answers. One good thing for a student to develop is the skill of approaching knowledgeable people in the community in order to find out more information about a particular subject. (It's a useful life skill.)

MarkII
 

NjCo

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Just speculating here, but one possible scenario is that someone suggested to him that he research some questions on his own, and mentioned either powderburner personally, or mentioned his club (which led him to powderburner) as a source to approach for information. Just a possibility. Teachers not only like it when students learn the answers, but also learn where they can go to find the answers. One good thing for a student to develop is the skill of approaching knowledgeable people in the community in order to find out more information about a particular subject. (It's a useful life skill.)

MarkII
No doubt it's useful. But then again, you have to know SOMETHING in order to ask the right questions. Presumably this guy has some knowledge about rockets given the questions I was asking above. It appear to be a for credit class. It's one thing to approach a knowledgeable person with specific questions (happens all the time around here, right!). It's quite another thing to ask someone to tell you where to start and what to do in a situation like this. On the one had you are helping someone who shows a genuine interest and is willing to learn. On the other hand you are simply providing the 'answer' to someone who just wants to complete their assignment. Of course this is a big assumption on my part and I truly hope the assumption is an incorrect one.
 
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