Presidio's Rocketry Program
April 22, 2011
In May 2010, Presidio High School's rocketry teams Presidio Pride and Presidio Spirit placed 9th and 15th respectively at the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). They also won Best Dressed Team for the third year in a row. All the rockets were named "Bo" after their late principal, Mr. Coffman, who died the day before the teams flew to Virginia. Their challenge was to fly a single stage rocket to an exact altitude of 750 feet and have a duration time of between 40 and 45 seconds. Only one parachute (between 14 and 16 inches) was allowed to support the payload (a raw egg), and the egg had to land safely with no cracks or breaks.
The top 20 teams at TARC are allowed to submit proposals to NASA's Student Launch Initiative (SLI); both of Presidio's teams proposed and were accepted. They showcased their skills in Alabama in April 2011. Presidio's rockets were between 10 and 12 feet tall, launched with Loki Research K350 engines, and carried DNA for sequence analysis and fused cells of desert plants.
SLI allows teams to display their skills in designing and building high powered rockets. Although SLI is not a competition, and they are no winners, NASA did say that Presidio's teams had "stellar" launches. A rocket mentor was overheard to say that "Presidio wrote the book on rocketry" and that their launches were perfect in terms of takeoff, parachute deployment at exact altitude, timing, and landing closest to the launch pad.
Dr. John Chandler of the Texas Tech University T-STEM Center and Mr. Fred Schneider, Senior Technician at Texas Tech University's Department of Industrial Engineering, are mentors who work with Shella Condino, Presidio High School's AP Physics and Chemistry teacher, on the Presidio rocketry program. In addition, Neal Keating, President, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Kaman Corporation, and Milt Clary, Senior Department of Defense Federal Aviation Policy Analyst at Overlook System Technologies support the Presidio SLI rocket teams.
Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC)
The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the world's largest rocket contest, sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR).
NASA Student Launch Initiative (SLI)
NASA Student Launch Initiative challenges middle and high school students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level, or AGL. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.