CAMS students launch ‘a real rocket’
When high school student Ian Goegebuer was chosen earlier this year to take part in a rocket-building program sponsored by Sony Corp., he figured that he would be working on some small model rockets.
But Goegebuer and seven fellow students at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson gradually realized that this would be no ordinary science project.
The students were tasked with building a 22-foot-long rocket that would reach an altitude of about 150,000 feet while traveling at supersonic speeds.
“We were like, we are actually building a real rocket,” Goegebuer said.
In about five months, the students at the high school - located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills - built the rocket and successfully launched it in the Nevada desert.
The project, culminating in the July 23 launch, was documented by a film crew and will air at 9 p.m. Saturday on the Science Channel show “How It’s Made.”
CAMS, an admissions-based school for high-achieving students, is part of the Long Beach Unified School District. The school was selected for the project from among high schools in the Los Angeles and New York City areas.
The two-stage rocket - which included four solid-propellant-fueled motors - reached a maximum of 2.8 times the speed of sound.
The eight-member team was guided by Silicon Valley veteran Tom Atchison, founder of the educational nonprofit Mavericks Civilian Space
The students worked on the project at least four hours after school during the week and “pretty much all day” on Saturdays and Sundays, either at the school campus or in a Long Beach warehouse, said Karina Simpson, a 17-year-old senior.