By BILL ZAN
Model rockets are small rockets designed to reach low altitudes. Since the launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, model rocketry has become a popular hobby, and the popularity of rocketry events and competitions has soared around the world. Over the years, with the aid of technology, model rocketry has become a safe hobby that has been credited as a significant source of inspiration for children who could eventually become scientists and engineers.
Kevin Yu (Sr.) founded the University High School Rocketry club because he saw “many people interested in model rocketry without the materials or guidance to build their own rockets.” Club members learn the basics of model rocketry, safe rocketry practices, build rockets of their own and meet with members of the Orange County model rocketry community; this community includes aerospace engineers and NASA and Boeing employees. In addition, the club will participate in the international Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). The TARC challenges teams of students to design a rocket that meets certain requirements regarding altitude and payload. Winners of the TARC will move on to compete in France against international teams. Yu said, “We competed in the TARC last year. Unfortunately, we only placed in alternates last year and missed the nationals by 3 points. This year, we hope to mentor some teams and win. That’s the dream.”
Club member Kaveh Agahi (Sr.) joined the club because he planned “on majoring in something engineering related” and thought participating in national model rocketry events would “look really, really nice on my college applications.” Agahi also said, “I learned a lot from working on the rocket last year and even though we lost last year, it was an incredible experience and I’m confident we can make nationals.”
Another member, Jerin Tomy (Sr.) said, “I really enjoyed building rockets in middle school, and after I watched October Sky in science class I decided to join the club. It’s definitely been a learning experience and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in rocketry. Building the rockets last year did take a lot of effort but seeing them fly was worth it.”
All people are welcome to join the Rocketry club regardless of skill level, and although there is no deadline on club registration, students are advised to join before the end of September to have enough time to build a rocket for TARC. Materials are provided. The club meets every other Thursday starting September 18 in room 702.