3,2,1…Blast Off! Protect the Eggstronaut!

There were definitely some ups (and some downs) for Mahesh Alur and his STEM Club on launch day.   Alur is a member of our first MSU Urban STEM Cohort and is a science teacher at Amundsen High School.  His students have been incredibly busy creating a secure flight device for their eggstronauts.   Recently, the STEM Club members set out to test their designs created from balsa, cardboard tubes, a garbage bag for a parachute, commercially purchased motors, on-board altimeter, foam and lots of epoxy! The rocket designs accommodated 2 eggstronauts- one placed vertically and the other horizontally.  The flight mission was a hopeful 850 feet with a 44-46 second flight time.  The eggstronauts needed just the right amount of protection to survive!  However, the design teams faced several challenges along the way.  Authentic learning, right? The first launch day was very calm and resulted in good test flights initially.  Yet, later in the day both rockets were damaged.  This unexpected circumstance put an end to further test flights for the day.  The rockets were restored, but the weather on Day 2 wasn’t very forgiving.  It was extremely windy and this played a major factor in the test flights.  Despite the set backs,  the students were very excited to build something and then see their final design take off.


Mr. Alur praised the efforts of his support team. “Tom Pastrick, our NAR (National Association of Rocketry) mentor, was the indispensable ingredient in our first year’s success,” Alur shared.  “He was very patient with students and kept returning to help us when turnout was low or nonexistent.  He commuted almost 2 hours one way each time, and he came at least twice a week for 2-3 months.  All hail, Tom!”

Below, you see the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians in action!