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Press Release – Norwest Rockets Soar

Press Release - Norwest Rockets Soar


The powerful THUMP of the rocket blasting off was immediately flowed by the cheers of the Norwest Christian College Rocketers, as they leapt with excitement, watching their bottle rocket soar into the air. NASA move aside, Norwest Christian College has joined the Australian push into space!

The newly founded (2018) Australian Space Agency was preceded by the Australian Aeronautical Velocity Challenge, an initiative of Wollongong University. Primary and junior and senior secondary students, in teams of four, compete in the Bottle Rocket Challenge. During competition, teams are given a set amount of time to design and construct a rocket using basic craft materials and standard plastic soft drink bottles.

Bottle Rockets use Excite and Educate launchers, which pressure water in bottle rockets to provide the thrust power. The rockets themselves are soft drink/water bottles, with the addition of nose cone, fins and attachment for the launcher.

At feverish pitch, the Norwest Christian College students, working in two teams, collaborated to construct their bottle rockets within the allowed 40 minutes. The Australian Aeronautical Velocity Challenge rules provide for the teams to use STEM technologies to pre-construct templates, stickers, jigs and components. Some pre-fabricated components, such as nose cone and fins were permitted but NWCC students needed to provide proof that they had designed and manufactured them. Throughout the pre-competition phase and during the Rocket Challenge on the day, NWCC students challenged their individual and team creativity, to innovate and implement effective rocket technology.

Oliver, Cameron, Kristian and Jemma comprised the THRASHER team.

Jemma: ‘When the 40 minute timer began, I half panicked as it was my teams (Thrashers) first time doing a pressure test together. Luckily we had a game plan, half of us would cut and tape the bottle while the other would cut out the fins, then we would all put them together. Teamwork was a great factor in this as if we didn’t work together, the rocket would probably not be finished within 40 minutes. We finished the bottle rocket with 15 minutes to spare so we spent it on test flights and modifications’.

Kyan, Oliver (ii) and Xavier were the JASA team. Junior Australian Space Association).

Xavier: ‘When the timer started I thought my team (Junior Australian Space Association)had it under control because we had a plan. A while after we started a state of panic arose, we were behind most of the other teams so we thought we wouldn't finish in time we started rushing and ended up finishing early but our bottle rockets fins weren't even and our bottle was wonky. So after we tested it we used our spare time to fix the fins and the bottle’.

Norwest Christian College competed in a friendly ‘Rocket Blast Off’ with host Arndell Anglican College. Competition was fierce as teams from both schools worked to give their rockets ‘that something extra’ and squeeze out a few more metres in distance. NWCC Thrashers achieved an incredible flight distance of 75 metres but were just edged out by an experienced Arndell team. The JAS team landed their rocket just behind Thrashers. The NWCC Rocketers gained tremendous experience and Mr Brian Barter NWCC Head of Technology/Stem was thrilled and elated by the performance of the NWCC students, who ‘excelled in both theoretical and practical grasp of STEM’. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and combines hands-on and minds-on technical skills. STEM literacy and capabilities are essential for young Australians to function proactively and successfully in Australia and on a global scale.

However, a NWCC student best summed up the day: ‘Learning is fun!”

Craig Laffin
Director of Development

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