Pastor Letter – IHM School Rocket Club – Emailed November 10, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I am not sure how many of you know about “specials” at IHM Catholic Elementary School, but they have been well received over the years. One special is IHM ROCKET TEAM!

IHM Rocket Team participates in The American Rocketry Challenge which is the world’s largest rocket contest. The contest is open to teams from 3 to 10 students in grades 6 – 12.

Each year students must design a rocket that carries one or more eggs up to a specified altitude and back to Earth in a specified time with specific requirements on dimensions, parachutes, mass, etc. Students may practice flying and tuning in their rockets as often as they wish.

Teams get to make three qualification flights under the observation of a National Association of Rocketry representative. Their best two of three scores are combined and compared to about eight hundred other teams throughout the nation. The top one hundred are invited to a fly off near Washington DC in Virginia. To make the top one hundred, flights often must be within 1 or 2% of the target altitude and within a second of the target time.

This year we have nineteen students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade on our three rocket teams.

Last year three of IHM’s teams qualified for the national competition and one team placed 13th overall. Because of this placement, IHM was invited to participate in the NASA Student Launch Initiative. The NASA Student Launch Initiative requires teams to design and build a rocket that will reach 4,000 feet and meet a unique engineering challenge.

Our Student Launch Initiative team, led by Aleena Kuttikadan, has already spent 250 hours planning and designing their 7-foot, 25-pound rocket. IHM’s junior high team has opted to take on the same engineering challenge that NASA requires of university teams. So far, they have submitted eighty pages of “rocket science” detailed documents to NASA.

If all goes well, in April 2024 the team will travel to the NASA facility in Huntsville Alabama to fly their rocket. IHM’s Student Launch Initiative Rocket Team is looking for sponsors; please contact the school if you would like to help financially in this expensive endeavor.

Many blessings,
Father Jim

Post a comment