Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Rocketeers...Madison West Trumps Nation in Rocketry Challenge
This makes me happier than any Packer victory, and almost happier than most Badger victories. Last year Wisconsin hosted the first ever
rocket race and the city of Sheboygan is already a future NASA spaceport site.
After their graduation, we'll probably lose these kids to other states. Like I always say,"Wisconsin provides the talent, ideas and brain power that keeps those other 49 pitiful excuses for states running."
Of course, the ones who stay home drink themselves into a stupor,go pioneer on us, and commit the weirdest acts of insanity and abnormality ever recorded in US history. But I digress,read on...
West Rocketeers Win National Event
A team from Madison West High School took first place at the Seventh Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge Saturday, taking on the title of national champion.
The four-member team won the rocket competition after spending months perfecting their rocket design. The Team America Rocketry Challenge kicked off last September with hundreds of teams from 45 states and the District of Columbia vying for a chance to compete at the finals held today outside of Washington, D.C. with the top 100 teams.
“Hard work, perseverance, teamwork, and custom electronics are the reasons our rocket performed well today,” said Ben Winokur, team member. He added a key component of their rocket’s success was, “a very intricate active parachute ejection on ascent.”
The team, one of three from Madison West High School, logged the winning score of 20.54. Each point represents a deviation from altitude and time aloft targets, so the lower the score, the better. Festus High School from Festus, Mo., took second place with a score of 25.92 while New Site High School from New Site, Ms., placed third with a score of 36.3
This year, student teams were asked to design, build and launch a model rocket to an altitude of 750 feet with a flight time of 45 seconds and a raw-egg payload situated horizontally to mimic the position of an astronaut. The egg had to return to earth unbroken in order for the launch to qualify.
The winning team will compete this week for international glory in a fly-off against the winners of the UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge from Royal Liberty School in Essex.
“The students today were absolutely outstanding,”Blakey said. “Each and every team demonstrated a superb grasp of the fundamentals of rocketry using physics, math and teamwork to launch their rocket and spur a terrific competition. This is an encouraging sign that there is a promising pipeline of future employees for our industry.”
The Madison West High School team wins a trip to the International Paris Air Show in June, sponsored for the fourth year by Raytheon Company, a major supporter of the competition. The winning team shares a prize pool of more than $60,000 with other top finishers. Lockheed Martin Corporation provides $5,000 scholarships to each of the top three teams, and teams also will receive an invitation from NASA to participate in its Student Launch Initiative, an advanced rocketry program.
Members of the Madison West High School team are: Jacqui German, Tenzin Sonam, John Schoech and Ben Winokur. Their mentor is Dr. Pavel Pinkas, an engineer, and their teacher is Chris Hager, who teaches biology. The team of high school juniors was sponsored by the Madison Wisconsin community through fundraisers held by the Madison West Rocket Club. The Club opted to raise contributions in the low-tech manner of raking leaves.