Rocketry Last Month

C/MSgt Heros Avedissian poses with his two-stage rocket prior to launch. Photo by Maj Hagop Avedissian.
C/MSgt Heros Avedissian poses with his two-stage rocket prior to launch. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.

On July 15, a group of cadets from Mount Vernon Composite Squadron conducted a rocketry event that turned out to be a great learning experience for all.

Under the leadership of 1st Lt. Timothy Buchanan who organized the event, Capt. Jimmy Kavanagh, the deputy commander for cadets, six cadets and the squadron chaplain, the group enjoyed a few hours of fun and aerospace education focused on rockets. 

It is noteworthy that C/MSgt Heros Avedissian’s two stage rocket was the only two stage rocket that was launched and recovered successfully. It was carrying a payload consisting of a small Oscar trophy inside that was launched skyward and landed successfully. The team appreciated the experience and learned a great deal, so much so that the cadets are planning on having another rocketry event in September. They expect it to be even better organized and include more cadets. [Update: the next planned rocketry outing is expected to be November 4, 2017.]

CAP’s Model Rocketry program is an achievement program for cadets interested in the science, technology, and flight of model rockets.  The program begins with simple alternative-power models and progressively challenges cadets to construct more advanced models in three stages.

The Redstone Stage reviews the history of rocketry and its great pioneers, to include Robert Goddard and Werhner Von Braun.

The Titan Stage details the physical laws which govern objects on the Earth, in the air and in space above us.

The Saturn Stage presents information on trigonometry for altitude tracking, and physics of impulse and thrust associated with solid rocket engines.

Cadets who complete the written and performance requirements for each of the 3 stages, as certified by their unit commander, will be awarded the Cadet Model Rocketry Badge.

For model rocketry teaching tips and resources, click here.

MVCS Cadets participate in rocketry exercise. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Avedissian.
MVCS Cadets participate in rocketry exercise. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.
Maj Jimmy Kavanagh, MVCS deputy commander for cadets, works with C/MSgt Heros Avedissian. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Avedissian.
Maj Jimmy Kavanagh, MVCS deputy commander for cadets, works with C/MSgt Heros Avedissian. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Avedissian.
MVCS cadets launch rockets. Photo by Maj Hagop "Jake" Adevissian.
MVCS cadets launch rockets. Photo by Maj Hagop “Jake” Adevissian.

Cadets Complete Phase 1 Rocketry

Cadet Amn. Austin Croy demonstrates the launch of his Goddard rocket during phase 1 of the CAP rocketry program.  Photo by 2nd Lt. Mark Patrick
C/Amn Austin Croy demonstrates the launch of his Goddard rocket during phase 1 of the CAP rocketry program. Photo by 2d Lt Mark Patrick

On February 21, Mount Vernon Composite Squadron (MVCS) cadets completed phase 1 of their program leading to a model rocketry badge.

The model rocketry program consists of three progressively challenging phases.  At the end of phases 1 and 2, cadets receive a certificate signed by the squadron commander.  After successful completion of phase 3, the cadets receive their model rocketry badge.  Phase 1 is completed indoors and focuses on the fundamentals of rocketry and propulsion.

As part of the aerospace education mission, CAP provides support for educational conferences and workshops nationwide; develops, publishes and distributes national academic standards-based aerospace education curricula for kindergarten through college classrooms.  CAP provides educators with free educational programs, products and services, including orientation airplane flights; and, provides comprehensive aerospace education resources online.

2d Lt Samuel Abbe instructed the room full of cadets in the final portion of phase 1 which consisted of making two types of rockets, the Goddard rubberband-powered model, and the “fizzy flyer,” powered by Alka-Seltzer® antacid tablets.  During the first part of phase 1, cadets pass a written test.  Cadet Marcus Wilson said, “the test covered the history of the rocket.  The first rockets were used at Chinese festivals and were called fire sticks.”  C/Amn Nebay Haile stated that this was the first time he had participated in rocketry and that, “it is a good program and I’ve learned a lot.”  Haile is also a member of the MVCS color guard.

Abbe, an active duty Air Force officer, explained that phases 2 and 3 of instruction would move outdoors where cadets would build and launch either a 2-stage rocket, or a 1-stage rocket with a small payload.  These Estes rockets are powered by B-class black powder rocket motors and will fly 300 to 700 feet in the air before returning to earth.  Abbe stated that all instructional materials were provided online via the CAP web site.