(Featured image: UCF team and two Boeing engineers)
Those of us involved in the engineering industry know that one of the things that make engineering training great is the support we get as students from major companies to develop our skills and put in practice what we learn in the classroom.
Boeing Company Space Coast Operations in Titusville, Florida, invited four SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) Chapters from schools in the area to compete in a Water Rocket Contest.
The schools were:
Besides SHPE chapters competing, they also had an employee competition so there were plenty of water rockets to have fun with. The winner of the competition would be the rocket with the most time aloft. Students got 3 launches and employees 1. It sure was an exciting day seeing how our water rocket performs and comparing it to many of the engineer’s who also built theirs.
Eight members were the maximum per group for schools and here’s how the competition went for us:
We started working on the rocket a day prior to the competition so we finished it at around 10 PM and were able to launch it once on campus for testing purposes. This is how it turned out:
As you can see in the following video, we failed at choosing a better launch spot, but that’s what happens when everyone wants to go home. However, the rocket was a success!
TRIAL 1: The competition started and we had an OK 1st flight, water/air ratio was not optimal so maximum theoretical altitude was not reached and the parachute took a little longer to deploy. However, all schools did not have a great 1st flight either, some having no parachute deployment at all, others did not launch well. It was a 7 -second flight and there was a tie with Embry-Riddle.
TRIAL 2: This flight was the least successful. The video clearly shows there was not separation of nose cone (where there parachute is) so no parachute is seen. Let’s say this landing was tough on the rocket. Nonetheless, we figured out the right amount of water this time.
TRIAL 3: This was a great launch but after fixing the nose cone separation problem we started having issues with the parachute not coming out of the cone. Unfortunately, this was our last launch BUT there was still a tie between UCF and Embry-Riddle.
TRIAL 4 (TIE-BREAKER) Well, this was our last chance and the rocket that perform better was going to be the winner so we started analyzing data we had by this point. We all contributed to a series of ideas and implemented them effectively with great outcome. Since we had solved our previous problems, we were now focused on the parachute deployment issue. Our goal was to have it deploy as soon as it reached apogee so it would take the longest time to reach the ground. Here’s what we did on the last flight:
Another take of the winning flight