The team has grown remarkably ever since its inception. Even the first-year members have been able to pick up quickly, including David, Norman, and Allison. I'm surprised that we have been able to make so much progress. In three months, we logged over 60 flights, which is efficient compared to the twenty an average TARC team makes in eight months.
Not every teenager is enthusiastic about waking up before the sun rises to make a two-hour car trip to the Mojave and drive back for another two hours during the lovely weekend, but that was our plan in August: make most of our launches before El Niño hit in December. Even I strongly dislike dragging myself out of bed, but I do it anyway because every launch day has a different outcome every time. Anything could go wrong during a launch, but nonetheless it was exciting to know that we would be in a different place than where we were the launch before.
We knew ahead of time that El Niño's rain would make reaching our usual launch site in a dry lakebed impassable, so being able to deliver on our plan makes more time for us to make improvements and new endeavors. Not everything happened as we had planned but we certainly made our way to our original goal.
How have we improved since our first year? One thing that we have developed is becoming less risk-averse. Few teams are bold enough to experiment with new technology; most of them prefer plywood fins. This year, we used tube fins as an investment, and because we chose to take a risk, we have achieved most of our goals.
Another thing that most teams are hesitant to utilize is RockSim. RockSim is a simulation software that we use to design and test our rocket before we reach the building stage. But RockSim’s usefulness does not stop there - we continue to experiment with variations of our current designs to develop more precise and wind-resistant rockets and conceive new designs that out-perform our old ones.
Even now, we continue to make investments in new designs, which we hope to make in time for nationals. There are so many intriguing possibilities and obstacles that using new designs can create, making our current and future endeavors even more thrilling.
As of now, I am a junior at Irvine High School, the captain of the Vertical Projectile team, a member of Irvine High’s CubeSat team, and President of Voting Involvement Association. Before Vertical Projectile, I began my TARC career in a different team, with people one year older than me, and I enjoyed the position of watching people do things. Yes, that was my job. I had to find a way to keep myself occupied without interfering with the major tasks, which were covered by the older members.
At least something good came out of my boredom. Immediately after my first season, I thought about how cool it would be to lead my own team and introduce people to something completely new and exciting. I envisioned a team that allowed equal participation, so I gathered some friends, formulated some sort of plan, and began launching designs that we built.
Currently I am still deciding upon which goal I want to achieve - creating a biodegradable plastic or achieving interstellar space travel. Other than chemistry and aerospace, I enjoy writing in my journal, improvisational speaking, sketching in my personal notebook, and creating movies.
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