Rocket Club Shoots for Qualifying Flight

The young scientists’ in the Elana Christian Junior High School Rocket Club were ready for countdown to fly their rockets to qualify for the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) competition. And fly they did – in fact, they flew way so high they didn’t qualify on Friday.

Students have to get the rocket to fly no higher than 750 feet and to stay up for 40 to 45 seconds and a raw egg must return unscathed in a rocket built totally from scratch. The eggs came back to earth in perfect shape and the times airborne were perfect, but the rockets flew over 1000 feet high.

It’s not over yet for the students; they still have more time to work on the rockets to get them to qualify. Clifford Cuffy, judge of the qualifications, said he will be able to give the students a couple more chances to fulfill all the required criteria.

“I wish it hadn’t gone up so high,” said team captain George Jacobs. “We will figure it out.”

Steve Bullock, science teacher and Rocket Club advisor at Elana Christian, said it will be pretty easy to remedy the problem.

“This is where the young scientists have to come up with why it went too high and then try to perfect it,” Bullock said. He said if it goes too high they have to figure out how much heavier to make the rocket. He says they can put in sand or fishing sinkers in the nose cone.

Bullock said the club went to TARC in Plains, Va., last year where they placed 62 out of 100 teams. The challenge is sponsored nationally by Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. This year’s competition is May 14.

Reading Rainbow Rocket Club also was firing off qualification trials at the Paul Schang Cricket Field in Estate St. John. The Elana Christian club members mentored the four students at Reading Rainbow.

Dezra Richards-Frazer, school coordinator, said rocketry is very educational for her students who want to be engineers and scientists.

“Our aim is to motivate, inspire and interest our future astronauts in science,” Bullock said.

The club that meets weekly at school and on Saturdays is sponsored by Renaissance and the V.I. Lottery.

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