BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
CENTERVILLE — The specifications are precise: the rocket must go 750 feet into the air, it must be at least 60 millimeters in diameter, it must return an egg unbroken to the ground with a parachute no wider than 15 inches, and the entire flight must take between 48 and 50 seconds.
It’s a challenge a team of Davis County students have taken on, meeting the parameters closely enough to qualify for a trip to Washington D.C. to take part in a national competition.
Hunter Davis and Quin Stewart of Viewmont High, and Mac Johnson, a student at Centerville Junior High, are the only Utah students invited to Team America Rocketry Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry.
Their qualifying flight was scored at 5 points. A perfect flight would rate a 0. Flights between 0 and 16 are invited to the national competition. Of 725 teams competing, only 100 were invited to D.C.
Scholarships and a potential trip to Paris for the international competition are just a few of the draws. Exploring Washington D.C. is another the young men are looking forward to.
As they prepare, they continue to refine and perfect their rocket.
“It’s what science is all about,” said Mary Belliston, team mentor and a physical sciences teacher at Centerville Junior High. “It’s trial, error, fail then try again. Change something, try again and then fix that. It’s been fun to watch the boys as they’ve gone through that process.”
In early trials, the fins on the base of the rocket had a tendency to break, said Stewart. On one of the initial launches, the young men watched as the rocket went straight into the ground.
“Four weeks of work destroyed in two seconds,” said Davis, team captain.
“The hardest part isn’t building the rocket, it’s launching it and collecting data,” he said. Even when they get to D.C., trial launches will be necessary to adjust to the humidity, temperature and altitude.
“It’s fun to work with a group of boys who want to do something cool like this, and engage their minds” said Belliston.
The team is in need of sponsorship for their trip. Any interested can learn more on Facebook at CJH Rocket Team.