Starting in 2009, I embarked on an incredibly challenging yet rewarding journey to explore and self-teach aerospace engineering. Competing in the Team America Rocketry Challenge for 3 years and continuing to build advanced rockets to the present day has given me highly focused communication, leadership, and technical skills. Since building my first rocket in 2009, I have created more than 85 individual rockets of various sizes, power, and complexity.
When Passion Takes Flight, the Stars are the Limit
Rocketry was an opportunity to create interdisciplinary connections between aerospace engineering, prototyping, design research, meteorology, and public speaking. My passion, fueled by my drive to achieve flight, allowed me to challenge myself in many ways both academically and with my skillsets. Rocketry became a part of my identity, and creating these rockets to accomplish a vast array of tasks in flight provided me with endless opportunities to seek challenges outside the classroom setting.
From Raw Material to Flyable Rocket
Every rocket made was the culmination of material research, aerodynamic analysis, weight distribution, and flight simulations with calculated weather conditions. Over 90% of the rockets in my fleet have hand-cut and air foiled fins along with countless custom components built at home with only a hobby knife and Dremel. Working independently on this endeavor, I have spent over a thousand hours brainstorming, researching, and testing myself to further my knowledge and skills. The materials used for these rockets include cardboard, paper, laminated board, wood, plastic, kevlar, fiberglass, and carbon fiber.
Payload Design: Protection with Space Constraints
Competing in the Team America Rocketry Competition required the development of payload bays that can protect up to 2 raw eggs in various positions. Unique payload bays were made that not only withstood the shocks in rocket flight and recovery, but also endured harsh payload testing with subjection to extreme forces. Not only was weight management important in payload design, but design for assembly was directly associated with the successful application and use of the payload bay on the launch field. Nearly all of the developed payload bays can protect its contents under ballistic impact forces.
Avionic Bay Design: Collecting Data in the Sky
The avionics bay in a rocket contains electronics that aids in data collection, media recording, and recovery system activation/ejection. Creating compact avionics bays was necessary to ensure accurate altitude readings on barometric altimeters and successful deployment of the rocket's recovery system at the rocket's apogee or desired altitude. Having no previous experience with electronic hardware creation prior to this point, creating avionic bays was one of the hardest challenges that I faced when exploring and growing in the world of rocketry.
Level Up: High Powered Rocketry
I am highly experienced with rocketry, from model rocketry for hobbyists to high powered rocketry. With my passion for flight unquenchable, I sought out launch opportunities and am currently certified by the National Association of rocketry. This certification allows me to fly rockets that use propellant that can be over 500x more powerful than the average hobby motor in stores. Moving up to stronger engines allows me to further challenge my rocket design, construction techniques, and flight strategy. When the sky's the limit, there's no need to aim low!