Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Inc.

2012 Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Finds International Glory

2012 Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge

While the world was counting down to the opening of the 2012 Olympics, many eyes were turned to the third Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge which this year found international glory.

As the late sunrise illuminated the launch site and the crystal clear blue sky appeared from the darkness, we all knew that the scene was set for another fantastic challenge. As the many amazing helpers arrived, the range was swiftly set up at the Queensland Rocketry Society’s LA2A launch site. With the AYRC helpers brief completed and teams rolling in, you could see in the distance, many hot air balloons taking advantage of the beautiful weather.

With the teams starting to prep their rockets, it was with great pleasure to announce to the crowds, some very special guests with our first ever international competitors all the way from Ahmedabad, India. Two representatives, Viren and Brijesh and their mentor Pratham were present at the challenge and arrived two days earlier to work on their rocket. Having limited availability of materials in India, the team brought their paper drawn design and plans to give the Australian’s a real run for their money. There was lots of excitement with the many new experiences including the use of composite reloadable motors and other commercially available materials.

The primary teams took to the pads for their first round and the audience quietened in anticipation of the first lift off… The countdown began and all of asudden there was a ‘pop’ followed by a gentle whooshing sound as the rocket sat on the pad thrusting nowhere. It was an interesting start to the day and moved onto the next rocket. With a now higher level of anticipation, the countdown starts once more and again there was a ‘pop’ followed by a gentle whooshing sound. We quickly put a hold on launching to check out the two rockets and both had spat the nozzles. A quick inspection of the other C6 motors showed that there was a faulty batch of motors all with cracked nozzles and/or the nozzles were not attached to the motor casing. The teams hastily swapped the other motors in the primary school rockets and repacked the two rockets with the failed motors.

Back to the pads and as they say, third time lucky, the first rocket finally lifts high into the sky with cheers to be heard from miles away. A number of consistently great flights meant the judges would be working hard today carefully checking all aspects of the rockets and their flights.

With the first round of the primary challenge out of the way, it was time for the secondary schools to take the stage. The quality of this year’s builds were exceptional and it was clear there had been many hours put into each and every entry. One by one, the raw egg payloads were lifted with definitive purpose and you could see that this year’s teams meant business. It was fantastic to see how the experiences of previous challenges had clearly been learnt from with teams applying new techniques for more precise outcomes. Some teams had complex clustered projects which proved to be troublesome on the day, nevertheless all participants had great fun.

The defending champions from Aviation High did not disappoint with a near perfect flight and recovery, though with an altitude of 716’, the High Flyers conceded second place to Grace Lutheran College’s Grace2 with an altitude of 738’. Canterbury College’s Sunny Side Up secured third place with an altitude of 673’. A number of other teams, including team India came close to the target, however unfortunately returned cracked eggs resulting in disqualification.

The second round of primary flights were just as impressive as the first and this year saw a clean sweep from Beaudesert State Primary School taking out all three places. It was again a tight result between all competitors with Beauy Brothers in first place, Beauy Beauties/Sisters in second place and Beauy Black Knights in third place.

The spool completed its 19th flight as the first demonstration this year and as always intensely grabbed the interest of all onlookers. Australian Rocketry’s ‘company ute’ flew on a H123 Skid Mark motor followed by Ari’s Ariel on an I211 White Lightning.

To say it was a great day really is an understatement and many teams and teachers are already thinking about next year’s challenge. The success from our Indian comrades means there is also discussion of a future entry from some new participants. A huge thank you goes out to all of the helpers who make this event so successful each year and I know all participants are grateful for their efforts which is indicated by the constant growth of the Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge.

Now it ‘s time to hit the drawing board again and start planning the 2013 Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge which is sure to be full of excitement and new surprises.

Blake Nikolic
Australian Youth Rocketry Challenge Inc.