Spring Must Be Coming: The 1601 Rockets Are Flying

Spring Must Be Coming: The 1601 Rockets Are Flying

It's all smiles until someone fails to launch. Check out this video of the 2020 Rocket Launch. Or view these photos.

If you want to be an aerospace engineer, you've got to set your sites on the sky (and beyond).

Kelly Griendling
Dr. Kelly Griendling
Hisham Ali
Dr. Hisham Ali

This week, 40+ student teams from three different sections AE 1601 did just that:

they launched their first rockets into, well, not exactly low earth orbit (but high enough to test the design and engineering skills of their builders). The launch is an annual class project for the Intro to AE course. But it's also something of a Rite of Spring [semester] for the Daniel Guggenheim School.

The goal? Send their team's rocket to 130 feet - no more, no less.

Cape Canaveral was booked, so the teams filed over to Georgia Tech's Burger Bowl Field on Wednesday morning - when there was a break in the rain - and sent their hard work into the air. Off to the side, their instructors - Prof. Kelly Griendling and Dr. Hisham Ali - watched as the tiny projectiles struggled to attain just the right altitude.  The closest one reached a respectable 125 feet.

"The rocket project gives students a chance to both apply the principles they are learning in the classroom and experience the full engineering design cycle in an active and enjoyable way," said Griendling.  

Getting to this point took a lot of prep work. Students started in January  by researching different rocket base kits. To model their launch, they chose the OpenRocket Simulator, a software that predicts the stability, safety and performance of rockets. This allowed them to simulate their rocket's performance and make any needed changes before launch day. They used the Yang Aero Maker Space to design and manufacture a payload bay that included an altimeter. 




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