Physics & Engineering Rockets Set for Lift-Off

Friday, November 3, 2014 will mark the eighth year in which Legacy students have designed and launched rockets as part of the physics and engineering curriculum. This year Legacy will launch 73 rockets, at least five of which are over six feet tall and six will be three-stage rockets. Unlike previous years in which the engineering students purchased more complicated kits and built them, this year, are designing and building their rockets from scratch with no instructions or kits.

The rocket project in physics and engineering gave me first hand experience in design. The project showed me that, while one must adhere to the fundamentals, advancement is made through pushing boundaries. This influenced my path during engineering, realizing that we must push boundaries (and be willing to fail) in order to discover new innovations.
Ian McCord (2009), Texas A&M graduate & project engineer at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company

Legacy's rocket construction unit begins at the conclusion of the study of Newton's three laws of motion and runs to the end of the study of momentum and impulse. “The rocket unit exemplifies those concepts presented in the classroom and allows students to use their hands and minds to build something that demonstrates the principles they learn in class,” shared Dirk Preble, science and math instructor.

Engineering students compose this year's launch team, who are charged with managing the entire launch sequencing process, including everything from sequencing of rockets to recovery to announcements and crowd countdowns. A new, safer launch system with a double safety mechanism designed by senior Caleb Palmer will play a major part in seeing all rockets launched in a safe and timely manner.

Designing, building, and launching rockets provided me with valuable experience in the integration of teamwork, application of mathematics, and design principles required to create and launch rockets from scratch. Beyond raw skills, my time with Mr. Preble and physics and engineering forced me to take chances in a way I never had before, as well as allowed me to be very creative in terms of finding solution.
James Byrd (2010), Computer Science Major at University of Texas at Dallas

Launch time is scheduled for 10am on Friday near the football field and is expected to last an hour. “We'd love for everyone in the Legacy community to join us. The launch site location will be established as soon as I get good wind data Friday morning,” shared Mr. Preble.