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NMMI cadets launch rockets

NMMI cadet shows off his cargo from a successful rocket launch after the touch down on Stapp Parade Field recently. (Submitted Photo)

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On the afternoon of the last day of classes at New Mexico Military Institute, close to one hundred high school and junior college physics and engineering cadets put their book-studies to the test as they launched rockets on Stapp Parade Field.

A rocket constructed of plastic soda bottles and other items launches. (Submitted Photo)

The mission was to design, fabricate, construct, and launch a rocket transporting a raw egg to the greatest altitude. Points were awarded based on the time the rocket stayed in the air, the maximum altitude, as well as the condition of the cargo (raw egg) after it returned to Earth.

The physics cadets were assigned the task of using compressed air and water as their propellant. Using NASA rocket software, they virtually tested their designs, going through multiple iterations before deciding on a final design that met all given parameters. Once a design was chosen, the cadets had to then fabricate a rocket that emulated their virtual design as closely as possible.

The engineering cadets, who had been using 3D printing technology all year in their coursework, were supplied with solid fuel as the propellant for their rockets. Using rocket software, they designed their rockets, drew their designs in three-dimensional modeling software, and then 3D printed their designs. Since cadets were printing their rockets out of plastic, they had to design the rocket to withstand the high temperatures associated with solid fuel engines, while at the same time minimizing the weight to achieve maximum altitude.

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