San Antonio.- The UTSA office of P-20 Initiatives Trio Educational Talent Search (ETS) program and the UTSA Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) teamed up to have their first Solid Fuel Rocket Launch and Competition.
MAES students from Holmes, John Jay, Uvalde, Southside and Crystal City High Schools were all in attendance. Each student clutched their own rocket creation with excitement clearly displayed in their eyes.
The students all worked on their project following a three-day class specifically created to teach them how to design and build their very own rockets.
During their class they were given blueprints and software to help them learn all the science that goes into building a rocket. However, before deciding on rockets MAES had a few other ideas lined up.
“We wanted to do something for the students that would give them their own creation in engineering. We tossed around ideas for remote controlled submarines or planes, but we ended up going with rockets. We had to think about costs and the number of students involved,” Ben Vasquez, Vice President of Outreach for MAES said.
Students were encouraged to give each rocket its very own name to help identify them during launch and to put a personal stamp of ingenuity on their creation.
Vasquez was just as excited for the launch as the students were, and was eager to assist them in the process.
“The students were all excited we gave them the tools and they went with it, they got to name their own rockets and learn about engineering and they got a credit toward their school for participating,”he said.
The clear open sky above was almost still in anticipation as students positioned their rockets and primed them for launch. While in line the students behaved much like excited high school students would, chatting and bragging playfully about how their rocket would outperform their counterparts hard work.
However, they quickly shifted into young scientists of tomorrow when they stepped up to the line and held the launch initiation switch. The countdown was given over a bullhorn, when the count inevitably reached zero, the rockets ignited with red flare and sparks and headed skyward, each achieving their very own recorded height before parachuting and sometimes falling back to earth.