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CCISD - Rocketry Team of CLHS 2007 image

Clear Lake High School Rocketry team members Michael Pontikos, freshman; Djordje Mirkovic, junior; Eric Hansen, freshman; Will Slaughter, freshman; and Kade Butler, freshman are travelling to Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia this week to compete in a national contest, the Team America Rocketry Challenge May 19.

Clear Lake team competes in the world’s largest rocket contest this week

National fly-off at the Team America Rocketry Challenge will be held in Virginia on May 19

From the Clear Creek Independent School District

May 15, 2007

LEAGUE CITY – Five Clear Lake High School students have qualified and will compete in the finals of the prestigious Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest model rocket contest May 19.

Nearly 7,000 students in 850 teams attempted to meet the rigorous requirements of the contest, but only the top scoring 100 teams qualified to compete in the national contest.

Student team members include Michael Pontikos, freshman; Djordje Mirkovic, junior; Eric Hansen, freshman; Will Slaughter, freshman; and Kade Butler, freshman. Michael Pontikos said that he was looking forward to the team’s Virginia trip to Great Meadow in The Plains, for the May 19 national fly-off and expected that his team would do quite well.

The most difficult problem to overcome, Pontikos said, was finalizing the rocket design and finding the resources for test flights. The best part about this contest, said Djordje Mirkovic, an exchange student from Serbia, was the chance to meet rocket teams from across the country and visit Washington D.C.

The contest requires that students design, build and test a model rocket that can fly for as close as possible to

  • 45 seconds total flight duration - as close as possible

  • 850 feet maximum flight altitude - as close as possible

  • with a payload of one raw egg and

  • successfully parachute the egg back to the ground unbroken

English teacher Jane Sample and Math teacher Neil Jeffrey, the CLHS team supervisors, said the contest is an excellent opportunity for students to learn hands-on lessons in aerodynamics in a non-classroom setting. Participants apply concepts of physics like computing trajectory and eliminating drag to their models and see the results immediately. There is a deep satisfaction in knowing things that you have learned are helping launch something into the sky! This brings these concepts home to the real world for the students.

The project had the team building rockets in a manner not too far off from professionals. The contest promotes teamwork, delegation of tasks and group decisions, Sample and Jeffrey said.

Photo credit: CCISD

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