NCSSM Rocketry had three TARC teams this year.  Two of the seniors this year hoped to develop an air break system for two of the TARC teams' rockets, but unfortunately it was never completed. 

NCSSM was unable to qualify for the national competition this year, but its members returned the next year with more motivation than ever before!


NCSSM Rocketry developed a parachute release system and landing site estimator for SL this year.

We attempted to implement a parachute release system (PRS) that would release the main parachute once the rocket had safely landed on the ground. This was to prevent the rocket from being dragged on the ground due to wind catching the main parachute (a common problem with rockets of this size). This can easily damage the rocket, perhaps even ruining it.

For our landing site estimator, we planned to measure wind speeds tangential to Earth’s surface based on their effects on the rocket’s motion. The component of acceleration which is not parallel to the velocity of the rocket is due to wind. This component of acceleration may be used to estimate normal wind speed using knowledge of the mass of the rocket and a drag model which takes into account pitch and roll. This information would then ideally be used to compute the landing site of the rocket before it hits the ground. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to collect sufficient data from either payload at Huntsville launch with NASA. On the other hand, the flight itself was successful as the rocket was launched and recovered safely!

NASA Student Launch Documents

Rocketry Team Activities

The NCSSM Rocketry team successfully launched their full-scale rocket in Huntsville, AL at the NASA SL main event. The team had the opportunity to tour the Marshall Space Flight Center, display their rocket in a rocket fair that included all the college and high/middle school teams, and of course, launch their rocket on launch day. An unexpected treat was meeting Homer Hickam himself (from October Sky). The team took a photo with him, which is shown below. 

The team proudly displays their rocket  and two payloads at the rocket fair.

Our full-scale rocket, Gemini, blasts off from the pad in Huntsville, AL

(Left) The team poses for a pre-launch photo at the pad.                (Right) Homer Hickam pauses to take a photo with the NCSSM Rocketry team. 

The last weekend of February, NCSSM Rocketry launched our full-scale rocket at Bayboro, NC. It was a good flight other than the issue that we didn't attach the fin section to the parachute. Luckily it landed upright and nothing was broken other than a bulkhead. Our apogee was lower than we wanted, so we are working on a way to improve that. We flew a dummy payload, but our next flight will have an active payload.

On December 17, 2017, Wes, Aiden, and Caleb, and Sahil flew the  NASA  subscale model on an AT I211W and all of the recovery steps worked perfectly.

Picture-perfect launch


Rocket on the pad and ready to go; shown with proud crew!

Checking launch angle.

Careful preparation  takes time but assures a successful launch.

Range Safety Officer checking rocket for launch


October 28, 2017: This past weekend, NCSSM Rocketry took a trip to Bayboro, NC for our first launch of the year! We launched our old TARC rocket and a few others.

Jennifer, Anja, and Hannah recover a rocket after a successful flight

The flight was great, but it was caught in a guy wire. Our booster was zippered during retrieval

Aidan, Caleb, and Sahil get the rocket ready