NASA has been working on a new spacecraft called Orion. The new shuttle is designed to go farther than any other has traveled, well beyond the moon, pushing the boundaries of spaceflight to new heights. The goal of the Orion mission is to send human beings to Mars by the year 2030. However, the Orion team has encountered a major problem! Their new space launch system, designed to be the most powerful ever created, isn’t working properly. NASA is calling upon you to design a new rocket that can travel a great distance. It is up to you to save the Orion mission!
Using computer assisted design software, engineer a miniature straw rocket that can travel a great distance. Your design will be printed on a 3D printer and will compete against other rockets. The team that designs the rocket that travels the farthest will be recognized as NASA's top engineers!
Your rocket will be launched using pneumatic force. A dropped cylinder pushes compressed air to the launch tube and exerts a force onto the rocket which can launch it over 200 feet!
In the past, straw rockets have been built using drinking straws, clay, and index cards. These materials can be useful when creating a prototype, which will allow you to easily test and modify your design in order to achieve the best results. Your final design will be built digitally on computer assisted design software and printed on a 3-D printer. This modern method of design will allow you to create advanced and precise designs. The final product will look and perform professionally. The images below show two prototypes (top) and two digitally designed final products (bottom).
Our engineering teams plan out their designs.
The first prototypes have been created.
Students learn the steps of the engineering design process