Washington HS students achieve liftoff in New Mexico

It took them five long years to do it, but the High Altitude Rocketry Team from Washington High School has finally achieved success.

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On their fifth visit to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico this July, the team managed to launch its 23-foot suborbital rocket.

“It was the first time in five years that a suborbital rocket from a High Altitude Rocketry Team achieved liftoff from the launch tower,” teacher Nghia Le said. “The moment was exciting to watch, and many team members became emotional, with tears in their eyes.”

Twelve students took part in creating the rocket this year, which was made of an aluminum alloy known as T6-6061, phenolic tubing, graphite, and a variety of metals.

Weather conditions weren’t the best on launch day, and the launch itself was delayed a few times as a result. But when the rocket lifted off, it stayed in the air for about 12 seconds. The team isn’t sure how high the rocket flew, because it wasn’t tracked.

The school’s rocketry team has been invited to the White Sands Missile Range several times. Attempts to launch in previous years were unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, many of which the team had no control over. But the team has high hopes for the future. Its next goal is to reach an altitude of 100,000 feet.