Rocket team launches new project

By Macy Reeves

For the FCT

 

The RCS Rocketry Team is looking for new endeavors after its victory over the summer. Right now, the team members have put in a proposal to get into their next competition, the NASA Student Launch.

This competition will take much longer than the competition in over the summer. It will span a total of eight months and is put on by the Marshall Space Flight Center, located in Huntsville. If they participate, the competition will require the team to construct, design and fly high payloads and vehicle components.

The students began by writing the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, they will be notified Oct. 2, and they will begin designing and building the rocket. The results will be shared by the team and used by NASA in the future for projects.

Students make a proposal for a rocket and a scientific or engineering payload that it will carry. The competition will last through April with the winning team being announced in May.

The team members expressed their excitement for the competition but also the expectations of the community after the win over the summer.

During the competition, students will have to design and submit their rocket for approval, write a presentation and present it in front of a panel of engineers and meet other deadlines that follow the same protocol that engineers follow in the workplace.

“I feel like there are a lot of high expectations from the community and everybody, but I don’t necessarily take it as pressure; it’s more exciting to be able to be in the situation I am in. To be able to work harder, you’re given more opportunities by this success that allow you to do better in your other competitions as well,” said Andrew Heath, senior at Russellville High School and captain of the RCS Rocketry Team.

The Russellville Rocketry Team has even sparked robotics fever in schools around Russellville.

“There are so many schools that just started their TARC programs because of us,” said team member Christian Ruiz, junior at Russellville High School.

And it’s understandable why these competitions would intrigue students: they get to build a rocket and use what they learn in class.

“It’s a hands-on experience. It’s not just sitting in the classroom taking notes, it’s physically working out the problem and building the rocket, testing and re-testing – the fact that you get to see your hard work,” said Joseph Cole, a teacher at RCS and one of the rocket team’s sponsors.

But it’s more than just that; the students and teachers who participate in the TARC competition and, hopefully, the NASA Student Launch, enjoy what they are doing, and some of them even want to pursue careers similar to this type of competition.

“All the students are going into an engineering field – aerospace, mechanical, engineering – and one is even looking into education,” said Cole.

 

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