The trip to the Team America Rocketry Challenge was fun and a great learning experience for the Science Club for Girls Rocket Team! We would like to thank all of the donors, mentors and staff who helped make the trip happen. Let me tell you a little bit about the trip!
Our first day in Virginia was really long, but it was so much fun, I hoped it would never end. We visited The National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, where we got to see the SR-71 Blackbird which was used in the movie, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. We also saw the Enterprise Space Shuttle. Our mentors taught us a lot about the different planes, rockets, satellites, and other on display.
After visiting the museum, we got a special tour around the Aurora Flight Sciences headquarters in Virginia. There we learned about the purpose of an unmanned piloted aircraft, why they are so important, and about how they are designed and built. Aurora also treated us to a yummy dinner!
After dinner, we went to register for the competition and pick up our rocket. We received our TARC finalist medals, which was exciting! When we finally got back to the hotel, everyone was tired but we still had a lot of planning to do. We stayed up talking about how the competition would go and how to load the rocket. This experience helped me get a better understanding of teamwork outside of the sports field and learned why communication is very important for a team.
On Saturday almost everyone was up early and getting ready for the Launch. Our first group left at around six. When we (the late group) arrived at the Field the rest of our team was just about ready to go to the launch pad. It became very cloudy and started to drizzle. After an hour, our team decided not to wait any longer and to launch. I wasn’t able to go to the launch pad.
Unfortunately, our rocket’s parachute detached from the rocket while it was returning to the ground. This could have been for a number of reasons, from not enough glue on the shot cord to improper setup. Our team came in 71st place out of 100 teams.
Since we did not qualify for the finals, we had the time to go and explore Washington D.C. on Sunday! I spent my time in D.C lying on the grass and exploring the different monuments and Smithsonian Museums. My favorite museum was the National Gallery of Art, especially traveling through this tunnel of lights to get to the west side of the gallery. To me it kind of felt like I was traveling through space! Our choice of lunch for that day were from the well known truck vendors of D.C.
Even though we didn’t come in as one of the top three teams in the finals, the experience of finals, sightseeing in DC, and time we got to spend together and with our mentors more than made up for it.
We can’t wait to start working on the rockets for the 2014 challenge!