Lift Off: Aerospace Club sets milestone
The members of the new club launched their homemade rockets. Previously, Columbus has never had a club dedicated to building or launching rockets, making this the first Columbus rocket launch to date. Despite some glue and tape malfunctions in the pre-launch, and an empty battery or two, the launches went off without any major problems.
“We are all very excited,” said the Vice President of the club, Simon Tsuousis, minutes before the first launch.
The first launch went well, with the only problem being the delay between when the ignitor was pressed, and when the engine ignited. When the rocket took off, it easily passed the baseball field’s light poles. The rocket’s parachute deployed cleanly, allowing the rocket to gently drift to a touchdown.
The rocket’s builder, Mathew Stoklosa, exclaimed when he retrieved his rocket: “I didn’t expect it to go that high!”
A few launches later, bets were exchanged between some of the other Aerospace Club members on which rocket would have a mid-flight failure. The next rocket was a short, thin green-black rocket. The nose cap was secured tighter than the others, as the rocket’s builder hastily stuffed the parachute in at last second. Again an igniter was secured, and the club began the countdown. The rocket launched normally, but only flew half as high as the previous two, before it popped and quickly split in two. The back end flew toward the north end of the baseball field, landing in the outfield, while the front half fell straight back down. “None of us saw it coming, but we all expected it to happen,” said club president Adrian Ruiz.
For the final launch, the club gathered around Ruiz, as he prepared to launch the rocket many club members nicknamed “Big Bertha”. The rocket had a blunt nose, was tall, and was fairly wide compared to the previous creations. This time, when the countdown hit zero, the rocket didn’t launch immediately. Barely five seconds later, the rocket flew faster and higher than any previous launch. Big Bertha’s nosecone popped off, and the parachute successfully released, landing the rocket relatively close to the Launchpad.
“I was very excited because last year we had the club, but never got to see a rocket launch, so when the first rocket went up perfectly three or four hundred feet, we were very proud of the accomplishment. It was a very successful day and I hope it leads to the creation of bigger and faster rockets, said club moderator, Charles Frazier, “Finally, I hope this brings enthusiasm throughout the school, to bring more support to the STEM and Aerospace Clubs,” he added.
The success of the first rocket launch by the aerospace club, is without a doubt, a major milestone for all rocketeers in Columbus.