Jan 15, 2010 1:34 PM by Andy Koen, Bea Karnes - News First 5

AFA cadets rocket test a success

Cadets in the astronautics program at the US Air Force Academy successfully tested a student designed rocket motor Friday.

It took all of 8 seconds for the seniors of the FalconLaunch project to prove their capstone project a success.

The solid fuel sounding rocket is estimated to have produced over 4,000 foot pounds of thrust during its test.

As part of the FalconLaunch program, cadets design, build, test and fly solid fuel sounding rockets during their senior year under the supervision of faculty mentors.

The team plans to use their rocket to measure aerodynamic data for Department of Defense on a new fin design at a test in White Sands, New Mexico this April.

Back in November the cadets tested a similar rocket, but the ignition failed and caused the rocket to explode.

After analyzing the high speed footage, the cadets isolated the problem and corrected it.

"The goal of the program here is for our cadets to learn space by doing space, they get their hands dirty, they get to turn wrenches, they get to see the real world of space," said Col. Marty France head of the Academy's Department of Astronautics.

The rockets the cadets are designing are considered low-earth orbital.  Their primarily function will be to launch micro-satellites into orbit.

The Air Force Academy is the world's only university that allows students at the undergraduate level to do field work in rocketry and astronautics.

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