Ranger Rocketry competes at Argonia Cup

April 9, 2019

Joshua Calder (left) and Sharon Boeckman (right) show off their 7-foot rocket for the Northwestern Ranger Rocketry team who competed in the Argonia Cup Collegiate Rocketry competition near Argonia, Kansas, recently.

Members of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Ranger Rocketry team competed alongside 10 other teams from nine universities during the third annual Argonia Cup Collegiate Rocketry competition March 31 at the Rocket Pasture near Argonia, Kansas.

Although the team did not place in the competition, Dr. Steve Maier, chair of the department of natural science, professor of physics and co-sponsor of the team, is proud of their efforts.

“I would like to congratulate the team on their work this year,” Maier said. “Even though the results were not what we’d hoped for, the Ranger team took charge with scheduling meetings, leading the building effort, getting the word out to potential new members, and saw the project through to the end. I am looking forward to next year.”

According to the Argonia Cup website, its mission is “to provide a competition that challenges teams of collegiate students to design, construct and execute a multi-disciplined rocketry project utilizing innovative engineering and technology concepts.”

This year’s competition challenge was to fly a rocket to an altitude of at least 8,000 feet using a Level 2 motor then recover it at a predetermined location.

Maier explained that the Ranger rocket was 2.56 inches in diameter and stood about 7 feet tall. It was designed to fly to an altitude of 8,600 feet before deploying a glider to return a golf ball near the launch site.

“It took a fair amount of time to prepare for launch,” Maier said explaining that team members were working on motor assembly, packing the parachute and arming electronics.

“During ascent, the rocket became unstable with vibrations (we think it began hinging where sections were coupled together),” Maier said. “The motion became too much, and the upper portion folded down onto the lower portion before apogee. We were able to recover all of the parts of the rocket, but did not recover some of the electronics (the onboard altimeter and the GPS tracker, which became disconnected from its power source).”

Team members working on the project included Sharon Boeckman, Hitchcock freshman, rocket construction and painting; Joshua Calder, Okeene senior, team captain who worked on the rocket’s design and payload construction and is Level 2 certified; Capri Gahr, Carmen junior, payload construction and photography; Colton Reed, Sweetwater sophomore, rocket construction; Osamu Sakamoto, Northwestern alumnus, video; and Claire Theis, Kingman, Kansas, junior, payload design. Dr. Jason Wickham, professor of chemistry, is a team co-sponsor.

Oklahoma State University Senior Capstone team won the event with Southern Illinois University placing second, the University of Oklahoma at third and Wichita State University, fourth.

Other schools competing included the University of Colorado-Denver, Kansas State University, Mississippi State University, a second team from Oklahoma State University, Western Michigan University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the University of Wyoming.

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