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Olin Rocket Club Blasts Off

This fall, eight first-year Olin students took matters into their own hands when they noticed there was no student group focused on aerospace and rocketry on the Needham campus; they decided to form their own. In just eight short months the Olin Rocket Club, led by Kyle Emmi and Braden Oh, has taken off. 

The students spent most of the first semester working on logistics, including consulting with faculty advisor Professor Jessica Townsend, working with facilities staff to determine how to safely conduct tests and demonstrations, and recovering and restoring rocketry artifacts from previous Olin student projects, most notably a test stand built by Gordon Haag and Kevin Crispie several years ago. The newly-formed club also dedicated time to learning about and experimenting with the underlying physics of rockets, design and manufacturing for structures and avionics and chemical engineering for fuels.

Following a successful firing of the restored test stand in mid-February, the students got to work on Phoenix 1, the team’s first self-designed rocket. They chose to design and manufacture each component of the rocket, from the mechanical parachute deployment system to a custom printed circuit board for avionics. In addition to working together and consulting external resources for guidance, they also pursued feedback from outside companies (such as GE) and faculty members through formal design reviews. The project is close to completion with a projected launch date in fall 2018. 

Meanwhile, in order to practice safety procedures and increase exposure for the club, the group decided to hold a public launch day in late spring with a small model system.

On May 2 with the sun shining and little wind a large crowd of onlookers watched as, promptly at 1:30, the model rocket launched into the sky

In just eight short months, this young Olin team has nearly doubled in size, and with one successful launch already behind them, the Rocket Club is looking forward to really taking off. "We as a team are excited to hit the ground running this Fall. Getting our student designed, Phoenix 1 off the ground is our top priority and will be an amazing milestone for us when we do launch.  The Phoenix is the first step in a journey to intercollegiate competition in the near future," said Emmi.