Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For several weeks in May, Rivers seniors embark on self-directed independent study projects that can involve anything from volunteering at a soup kitchen to running a marathon. Over the next few weeks, we will be periodically checking in with a handful of students to learn more about their experiences. Today, we hear from Ian Brownstein, who is working on fulfilling his level I and II certifications for rocketry.

Since January of this year I have periodically begun working on my first high-powered rocketry kit, the mini BBX (shown in the pictures above). It is a Public Missiles kit that uses an onboard electronic system to release one drogue parachute at the rockets apogee and a 36" parachute at a height of my choosing. While I have never dealt with this advanced an electronic system onboard a rocket, what really makes this rocket a new experience for me is the fact that it is a high-powered rocket. High-powered rocketry (HPR) includes rockets using more than 160 Newton-seconds of total impulse, exceeding 3.3 pounds, or using metal parts. In order to launch high-powered rockets you have to be certified by the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). For my senior project I am building rockets (such as the mini BBX above) in order to receive level one certification and preparing for my level two certification (which includes a written examination in addition to the successful launch of a level two rocket). I will continue blogging about my progress and post pictures of my new rockets as my project develops.

-Ian Brownstein

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