North Central W.Va. Students to Enter National Rocket Competition

Mar 17, 2014

West Virginia’s got a rich history of young people involved in the science fields, many using rocket science to fulfill their dreams. A group of students from North Central West Virginia is hoping a rocket will also launch them to the very top.

There are five students in North Central West Virginia who are building a rocket to launch in the Team America Rocketry Challenge competition.

This competition entails sending a rocket 825 feet into the air, which will hold two raw eggs inside of it. The rocket must come down within a certain time period, almost 50 seconds, and the eggs can’t break. Simple right? Well, actually, no.

But a very special machine is helping these students. It’s a three dimensional printer housed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s facility in Fairmont.

"I like the 3-D Printer a lot, I think it’s really cool. I think it’s really cool that he invited us to play around with it at any time, that’s really amazing," said Luc Peret, one of the students on the team.

NASA's Todd Ensign helps students across the state enter these types of events.

"I personally believe that competitions like this provide a gateway for students to delve so much deeper than they could during their school studies. They don’t have the opportunity to use the kind of software and tools that we have here, but they really dig deep," he said.

These students come from different backgrounds. Jack Thompson for instance, wants to be a ballet dancer. He’s only 16 and is receiving offers from different places for his services.

"If you’re a teenager and you don’t think you are ever going to use math or science in your life, it’s crazy how reality can kick you back into gear and realize everyone uses it at some point in their life," said Thompson.

The team must launch its rocket before the end of the month, and if its scores are strong, it can qualify for the national competition. That takes place in May in Virginia.