Is your local park just too small to fly your water rocket very high? The following challenges are designed to challenge your water rocket building skills and still allow you to launch them locally.
Each challenge has a simple goal with very few rules to allow you to use your imagination on how to achieve the goal.
You will earn a patch for each challenge you complete. There are no judges or submission processes. The patches are purely self-awarded on an honour system when you believe you have achieved the challenge in the spirit it was intended. You can do what you like with the patch, place it on your website, blog, video, or print it out and stick it on your fridge. We strongly encourage you to document your challenge attempts, and share them with the rest of the water rocket community.
Be warned, these challenges are difficult!
Each challenge has two levels that make it progressively harder, but allow you to set goals along the way to achieving the main challenge.
See the Challenge Attempts by the water rocket community
A big thank you goes to all the people on the water rocket forum: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ water-rockets/message/10908 for contributing ideas and suggestions for these challenges.
There are some general rules that apply to these challenges:
Primary propulsion for these challenges should come from cold compressed gas and water.
If you meet the challenge or a higher level you can claim the lower level patches as well.
You can complete several challenges simultaneously. If a flight achieves or exceeds another challenge's goals then you can claim that challenge as well.
Goal: Launch a rocket 50 times without any repairs. Rocket must fly to a minimum altitude of 100 feet on each launch that will be counted.
Level 2 - 25 launches without repairs
Level 1 - 10 launches without repairs
Purpose: Teaches you to consider what components can fail, and how they can be strengthened.
Notes: The rocket does not have to fly 50 times consecutively or even on the same day. Flights that don't reach 100 feet should not be counted. You can recharge batteries if needed.
Goal: Launch the same rocket 15 times in 30 minutes. The rocket should reach at least 50 feet in altitude on each flight.
Level 2 - 10 times in 30 minutes
Level 1 - 5 times in 30 minutes
Purpose: Teaches you to how to improve launch procedure efficiencies, and quick fill/pressurise launcher design.
Goal: Fly a rocket that will not spin more than 45 degrees from launch to apogee. The rocket should reach at least 50 feet in altitude.
Level 2 - 90 degrees
Level 1 - 180 degrees
Purpose: Teaches you to build your rocket accurately, paying particular attention to aerodynamics and fin alignment. Building non-rotating rockets is useful for aerial photography.
Hint: You can use an on board camera to look down and see how far the rocket has rotated in respect to some reference point.
Goal: Lift a 50Kg mass 30 feet.
Level 2 - 25Kg to 30 feet.
Level 1 - 10Kg to 30 feet.
Purpose: Teaches you how to build powerful boosters.
Notes: The rocket and launcher can be any design, and clusters are allowed. The dry weight of the rocket can be taken into account.
Goal: Successfully launch and recover a 5 stage rocket.
Level 2 - 4 stage rocket
Level 1 - 3 stage rocket
Purpose: Teaches you how to prepare and setup a complicated launch. You need to consider how you fill and assemble the rocket on the pad. It also teaches you how to make solid inter-stage connections.
Goal: Fly a dozen (12) eggs simultaneously more than 100 feet and land them safely without breaking.
Level 2 - 6 eggs to 100 feet.
Level 1 - 3 eggs to 100 feet.
Purpose: Teaches you how to carry fragile payloads on board rockets.
Goal: Land a rocket 3 times consecutively within 20 feet of the launch pad. Rocket must fly at least 100 feet high.
Level 2 - 3 times within 50 feet of launch pad.
Level 1 - 3 times within 75 feet of launch pad.
Purpose: Teaches you how to set-up the rocket, launcher and launch parameters to get the rocket to land in a particular spot.
Goal: Launch a rocket whose total pressurised volume exceeds 100L. Rocket must fly higher than 50 feet.
Level 2 - 50L rocket to 50 feet.
Level 1 - 25L rocket to 50 feet.
Purpose: Teaches you to assemble large volume pressure vessels.
Notes: The rocket can be clustered, staged or single pressure chamber.
Goal: Build and successfully fly 5 different recovery systems.
Level 2 - Successfully fly 4 different recovery systems.
Level 1 - Successfully fly 3 different recovery systems.
Purpose: Teaches you to pros and cons of various recovery methods.
Notes: The recovery systems should be quite different from each other. Using a different coloured parachute doesn't count. Suggestions for recovery systems include: Parachute, Helicopter, Streamer, Backglider etc.
Goal: Launch a rocket over200 feet using only PET plastic. No glue, tape or other materials are allowed.
Level 2 - Fly to 100 feet with rocket only made of PET.
Level 1 - Fly to 50 feet with rocket only made of PET.
Purpose: Teaches you how to use materials in different ways.
Notes: The PET plastic may be heat treated or heat welded.
When you have achieved a challenge or a challenge level, you can download the corresponding patch from the right hand column above and use it as you see fit. There are 3 sizes available for each patch. The images are .PNGs with a transparent background. Note: Some browsers may display the transparent part of the image in different ways. You can change the background in an image editor if you like to fit with the webpage you are putting it on.
When attempting these challenges always follow good safety practices.
Most of the challenges don't specify the type of materials to use, nor do they specify what pressures, nozzle sizes or launcher types. This allows you to approach each challenge with the materials you have available.
Each challenge also teaches you something different about water rocket construction that is directly applicable to more advanced rockets.
How you present your challenge attempt to demonstrate that you have satisfied the requirements is up to you.
You may attempt the challenges as individuals or as teams.
You can attempt the challenges in any order you like.
You get extra credit if you exceed the challenge by a significant margin.
The challenges are retrospective. Meaning that if you have already flown a rocket in the past that satisfies any of the challenge criteria then you can claim the challenge patch.
If you are a teacher or scout leader you may want to try some of these challenges with your group of kids, but simplify the challenge to make it achievable within available time and resources.
Q1: I don't have an altimeter. How do I know my rocket went 100 feet high?
A1: Simulate your rocket flight and if the simulation predicts flights over 100 feet and flying the rocket looks like it reached at least 100 feet, then that's close enough. If it's 90 feet or 110 feet it is not critical. You can also use alternate methods to measure altitudes.
Let us know how you go and we will add a link above with your attempts. You can also discuss your attempts here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/water-rockets/message/10908
So which challenge will you start today?
Here are the challenge attempts so far by members of the water rocket community:
Luc's start at the
Strength challenge. Here is his write-up:
great attempt at the Precision challenge: