Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
By Margie Wuebker
Minster students' rocket flies highest at launch
MINSTER - The colorful, 10-foot I Need My Space rocket hurtled skyward belching orange flames and white smoke.
Minster Rocket Club members and adviser Ted Oldiges knew the Sunday morning launch was a good one. They learned later the 4,791-foot apogee was the highest attained by 20 high school teams from across the country at the NASA Student Launch Initiative.
The launch, originally scheduled for Saturday at NASA's Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., was postponed a day due to inclement weather conditions.
The Minster delegation arose around 4 a.m. to set up the rocket they designed and built.
"Ours was the second rocket to fly," Oldiges said. "We were excited as it climbed higher and higher toward a goal of 5,280 feet. The rocket was a little heavy, and it might have gone higher if the weather had been warmer."
The rocket carried a scientific payload designed to measure the cellular growth of microbial yeast organisms in microgravity as well as a GPS to simplify recovery. The rocket was located intact about 360 yards from the launch site.
The team stayed for another round of launches before heading home. Members admitted being tired - they left a banquet the previous night around midnight and settled down for roughly three hours of sleep before their early morning wakeup call.
Students followed Twitter updates during the trip home to learn their rocket soared the highest. Five or six college teams also participated in the initiative.
Participating teams received plaques to commemorate the experience. Oldiges is hoping Minster also will be one of the teams selected for an invite to return for the 2014 event.
Students, who had an opportunity to meet astronauts and NASA engineers such as Homer Hickman, still must submit post-launch reports, interviews and other date to NASA.
Team members Carlin Elder, Bella Shurelds, Austin Dwenger, Brooke Monnin, Dane Dahlinghaus, Hannah Kuether, Jessica Berelsman, Kyle Heitkamp, Pierce McGowan, Reid Frick, Trent Carlon, Sam Bornhorst, Danielle Monnin and Nathan Riethman worked with NASA representatives every step of the way from CAD designs to test flight analysis to earn approval. The process took more than eight months to complete.
The Rocket Club earned its invitation to the NASA event by finishing 12th at the 2012 Team Rocketry Challenge held near Washington, D.C. Two Minster teams are headed to the 2013 Team Rocketry Challenge on May 11 in D.C.
"We don't get much of a break," Oldiges admitted.
Team Pluto Avengers and Team Saturn Shooters are the only Ohio competitors. Prizes at stake include $60,000 in cash and scholarships.
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