Students to compete in rocketry competition

Posted: Friday, October 04, 2002

Several Juneau-Douglas High School students plan to compete in a nationwide rocketry competition sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry this spring.

Loren Parker, 18, a senior at JDHS, said he, Niel Steininger, 18, and David Liliedahl, 17, will participate in the competition if they are able to raise the $160 entry fee. The fee includes a handbook for making model rockets, an electronic altimeter, a computer design and flight simulation program and a copy of the "Handbook of Model Rocketry".

The students will compete to be the team that comes closest to building a rocket that reaches but does not exceed an altitude of 1,500 feet while carrying two raw eggs. The rocket must also have a mechanism for getting the eggs back to earth without breaking them.

"The design phase will incorporate a lot of work on computer programs, simulations," Parker said. "We can input the design, weight and size of the engine on the rocket. Using that we can run trials without ever having to do the experiments."

Ben Collman, the physics teacher at JDHS who is supervising the group, said the top 100 teams across the country will go to Virginia to compete in the national competition.

One other team from JDHS may enter the competition as well, although its members have not yet been finalized. If they qualify, the Juneau teams will solicit sponsorships from local businesses and individuals to finance the trip.

The five winning teams will split a prize pool of $59,000 cash. The top 10 teams will compete for three $2,500 grants to design, build and launch an advanced rocket with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Each of the top 25 teams will be invited to send a teacher to an advanced NASA rocketry workshop.

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