Mission complete: Local students successfully launch rockets

Community Reports

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Students from 10 middle and elementary schools across the state were bused out to Rio Rancho Tuesday morning to launch 4-foot-tall rockets hundreds of feet into the air.

It was all part of the fall tech mission hosted by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s STEM Academy. Students spent the last few weeks learning to use modeling and simulation software to estimate their rockets’ performance, then each class took a trip to Kirtland Air Force Base to learn how to build their rocket.

“It’s all on them to make sure they fly right, so they learn the science behind making that happen.”

Master Sergeant Evan Britton, USAF

After Tuesday’s launch, students compared their calculated rocket flight paths with the data collected during their actual launches.

“So it’s really a badge of honor, you know, I went out and built this thing and launched this thing and I have a story to tell.”

Ronda Cole Harmon, AFRL STEM Academy

The AFRL says the rocket project is one way for the STEM Academy to inspire young students to take a greater interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“That to me is why I do this to try to inspire and try to plant a seed that might inspire that next scientist or engineer of the future.”

Ronda Cole Harmon, AFRL STEM Academy

Schools participating in this year’s program include: 

  • BacaDlo’Ay Azhi Community School
  • Christ Lutheran School
  • Cleveland Middle School
  • Isleta Elementary School
  • Menaul School
  • Mesa View Middle School
  • Peralta Elementary School
  • St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School
  • San Felipe Pueblo Elementary School
  • Washington Middle School

The launches took place at the Albuquerque Rocket Society’s launch site in Rio Rancho on 45th Avenue between Eighth Street and Ninth Street.

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