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News Report 11 Oct 2008

Students at Southampton University use the Cambridge Rocketry Toolbox to maximize water rocket altitude.

In a departure from the usual application of high powered chemical rockets, students at the University of Southampton have been applying the Cambridge Rocketry Toolbox to the humble water rocket.

New students embarking on the Aeronautics and Astronautics course in the school of engineering sciences were given off the shelf kits containing inherently unstable water rockets. They were then asked to maximize the performance of their rockets by selecting an appropriate volume of water propellant to use and an appropriate mass to add to the rocket nose to improve the dynamics.

The Cambridge Rocketry Toolbox was employed to simulate the flight path of the rockets and optimize the parameters for maximum altitude. A flight competition ensued where teams competed to achieve the maximum altitude. During the competition the optimized rockets achieved altitudes of three to four times greater than those achieved by the "out of the box" rocket.

See below for some photographs of the event...

Measuring the rocket thrust on a custom built rig



And away!

A speck in the distance.

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