March 5th was a cold and windy day, but the Scouts’ rocket was ready to launch. After four weekends of meticulously gluing together fins, tubes, and nose cones, their custom built spacemodel was loaded with parachutes and a motor for its delicate mission. The rocket was specially designed to carry one Grade A hen’s egg to 850 feet and gently return to the ground in 45 seconds without breaking the egg, as part of the Scouts’ entry in the The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) contest.
This annual contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry, combines hands on STEM education and teamwork exercises for students in 6th thru 12th grades. Teams launch local qualification flights with the top 100 scoring teams being invited to the national competition held in Northern Virginia in May. The top 10 finishers share over $100,000 in scholarships and prizes.
Seven BSA Scouts from Stafford County’s Aquia District formed a team to compete in the TARC for the first time. During the build sessions, members divided up construction jobs under the direction of Peter, their Senior Patrol Leader.
Some Scouts worked on the engine mount and payload section, while others designed and cut out the fins. They used a software program for altitude predictions to help the Scouts match the best motor for the mission. “I liked working out the calculations and figuring out which size motors would get us the most height.” said Chase R. who ran several altitude predictions.
As part of their preparations, the team flew smaller rockets to learn the basics of construction and launch operations. Some Scouts even started building and flying their own models. Once at the launch site, each team member contributed to final assembly, integrating payloads and checking to ensure all systems were “Go”.
Although the team did not qualify for the national competition, several Scouts are eager to try again next year. In addition to a great team-building and STEM experience, the activity counted towards the Scouts’ Space Exploration Merit Badge.
The team was sponsored by the National Association of Rocketry’s Rappahannock Rocketeers Club. Educators or students interested in participating in next year’s events can contact NARsection908@gmail.com for more information.
Ready to begin your family’s Scouting adventures too? To join BSA, please go to www.beascout.org to find a BSA Scout unit near you – Cub Scouting serves families with children in Kindergarten through 5th Grade; Scouts BSA serves familieswith children ages 11-18. There are BSA programs for families with older Youths, ages 14 – 20,including Venturing, Exploring or Sea Scouting.
The mission of the BSA is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Aquia District includes Stafford County, VA, and Marine Corps Base Quantico. For more information on Scouting in the Stafford/Fredericksburg area, including how to donate, join or volunteer, contact Kristy Freeman, Aquia District Executive, at Kristy.Freeman@Scouting.org or call (540)287-3866