Team America Rocketry Challenge is a competition in which a group of 3-10 school students, from 7th- 12th grade, get together and build rockets. Our team consisted of 9 students from Animas High School (Left to right, top to bottom) Riley Amos, Sophomore at Animas High, Mason James, Freshman at Animas High, Simon Donnaway, Sophomore at Animas High, Christopher Atchison, Freshman at Animas High, Finn Bridgham, Freshman at Animas High, Grady James, Sophomore at Animas High, Sage Davis, Sophomore at Animas High, Nate Foster, Sophomore at Animas High, Alma Wolf, Junior at Animas High.
Riley, Simon, Nate, Grady and I have been competing in Team America Rocketry Challenge since 8th grade. This year, our Sophomore year(2017-2018) was the first year that we made it Nationals. Nationals was in Washington DC. To get to DC we had to be the in the top 101 teams out of 800+ registered teams. For this season we began our team meeting in October and met once to twice a week all the way until April. We began launching in November and stopped launching in April after we had sent in our final launches again. After seeing we made it, we began meeting again for the next four weeks and launching twice a week. We sacrificed lots of sleep for very early mornings to meet and launch so that we could get our flight time and altitude correct.
We launched as a team at James' ranch, the ranch owned by Grady and Mason's Dad. This place offered us lots room to nail down launches. We also used the Maker's Space in Durango and the Maker's at Animas High school. These areas were both used for the creation of our rockets as well as the editing, planning, and experimenting. These areas were all extremely helpful though our process of building and creating our rockets.
How : We began meeting in October and we started off by all of us designing a rocket that would fit the constraints of the competition hitting the altitude and time on point. We then took those designs and each made a rocket, following the design on our rocksim program. After that, we took our build rockets and flew all of them to se which ones were the most accurate and close to the marks. After we launched those, we came together as a team and decided on which three rockets to move on with. We took those three and distributed them throughout the team so that we had groups of three, all working on different designs. After that we narrowed that down to two rockets and rebuilt them multiple times until we found the one that we wanted. We launched the rocket that we chose 20+ times so that we could nail down the height and altitude. Once we did that we began to send in our qualifying flights, picking from the best to send in. After finding out we made it to Nationals, we had to redesign our rocket for sea level and high levels of humidity. We compensated really well and found a spot to have a few test flights at in DC. Our test flights went well however our qualifying flight at the venue did not go as well as hoped. Due to the extreme amounts of humidity that morning our rocket descended a lot slower than predicted and launched off the launch pad in an unexpected manner.
Rockets must not exceed 650 grams gross weight at liftoff. They must use body tubes of two different diameters for their exterior structure. The smaller-diameter of the two body tubes must be used for the upper (egg payload) end of the rocket and must not be greater than 57 millimeters (2.25 inches, corresponding to body tubes generally called BT-70) in diameter but must be large enough to contain eggs of up to 45 millimeters in diameter. The larger-diameter lower body tube must be at least 64 millimeters (2.52 inches) in diameter (body tubes commonly called BT-80 are 66 millimeters) and must contain the rocket motor. The overall length of the rocket must be no less than 650 millimeters (25.6 inches) as measured from the lowest to the highest points of the airframe structure in launch configuration. They must be powered only by commercially-made model rocket motors of “F” or lower power class