Rowan hosts Blast Off 2019, regional rocketry competition

Rowan hosts Blast Off 2019, regional rocketry competition


Rowan University’s American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) student club with host its 4th Annual Rowan Blast Off Model Rocketry Competition and Invitational, science fair and fun rocketry activities for all ages on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Jersey Technology Park, on Rt. 322 (off Rt. 55) in Mantua Township. 

More than 20 team of students in grades six through 12 from schools and Civil Air Patrol Squadrons in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will launch rockets competing in several categories: parachute and streamer (longest flight duration), egg lofting (raw egg payload) and spot landing (precision flight). New Jersey teams come from Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Morris and Ocean counties. Pennsylvania teams come from Philadelphia and Holland.

Most competitors use the OpenRocket simulator to adapt commercially available flying rocket kits for the desired flight parameters. For the egg-lofting event, rockets carry an ‘eggstronaut’ (a raw egg) which must return unharmed after enjoying the longest possible flight. For the spot-landing event, teams will approximate where their rocket will land based on rocket characteristics and flight conditions just before launch, and flights will be judged based on how close they actually land to the projected location. Rowan Blast Off event advisor and long-time rocketry enthusiast Greg Kennedy said this is probably the most fun type of flight in the competition. Some teams consist of experienced rocketeers who also participate in national competitions such as the Team America Rocketry Challenge, and other teams are brand new to the sport.

Competitors and guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the Science and Engineering Fair, featuring projects completed by high school and college students as well as exhibits from Civil Air Patrol Squadrons, the Air Force and NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command). Guests of all ages are invited to build and launch water-bottle rockets and more. Participants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“Rowan Blast Off provides a social environment to celebrate early involvement in rocket science,” said Dr. Olga Vilceanu, the Rowan faculty coordinator. “It’s a challenging field, yet immensely rewarding for all involved. This is math and puzzles and fireworks and flying—all in one 40-second event. For these students, the sky in literally the limit. There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for the teachers who guide them through this amazing experience.”

Event sponsors include NAVAIR, Estes Rockets, the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering and Rowan AIAA.

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