We just wanted to give you a little more background on our rocket project. We decided from the beginning that we would build our rockets completely from scratch, meaning we would not purchase anything in kit form or any components that were designed for model rockets. The only purchased components were the motors. We would have made our own motors, but Homeland Security frown on that sort of activity! We made our own air frame tubes using regular printer paper saturated with a mixture of wood glue and water, and rolled around a dowel of the correct diameter and let them dry over night. We next created engine mount blocks to hold the motor in the air frame tube with a similar procedure and glued them into the air frame. Next, we made fins from very light thin wood and glued them onto the air frame. Students used geometry principles along with their knowledge of circles to attach the fins perpendicular to the circumference of the tube while also being parallel with the axis of the tube. Next we built recovery systems from elastics, dental floss, and trash bags. Students made either parachutes or streamers to control rocket decent. We then made our own flame retardant recovery wadding from baking soda, water, and paper towels. We then attached launch lugs made from soda straws and nose cones made from light weight wood. The rockets were then painted and made flight ready.
On the designated launch day, we gathered at the launch site (sports court) and prepped the rockets with “B” powered motors for the first flights. All the rockets were launched and all but 1 was recovered, it having landed on the roof of the house. Altitude estimates were in excess of 1500 feet. The rockets were examined and all were in good condition for a second flight. Again, we prepped the rockets for flight, this time with “C” motors (twice as powerful as “B” motors), and launched them for a second flight. Unfortunately, several were not recovered, coming down in the wheat field next door and one probably landed in Tooele. The height estimates at this time were in excess of 2500 feet.
Much was learned and the students did a remarkable job learning about the math, physics, and chemistry involved in rocketry. The construction was really well done and top quality. Perhaps most importantly, they were really good citizens and helped each other out building, flying, and recovering the rockets. A great time was had by all.