5th Annual Goddard Cup Draws 7 High School Rocket Teams

June 15, 2012

A rocket blows out a jet of water as it blasts off the launch pad toward the target.

The lawn behind the Campus Center served as a test range for students’ pressurized water fueled rockets, as WPI held the 5th Annual Goddard Cup competition on June 13. Seven teams from around Central Massachusetts competed under a rainy sky, with the team from Wachusett Regional High School scoring highest, with a near-direct hit of the target.

Dr. Robert H. Goddard launched the world’s first liquid fueled rocket on March 16, 1926. Whereas Dr. Goddard used a combustible fuel, for safety purposes we choose non-combustible water. WPI’s Physics Department held annual Goddard Cup Competition to honor Dr. Goddard, the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” who graduated from WPI in 1908. This annual competition began in 2008 when WPI held a year-long observance of the centennial of his graduation.

Worcester-area K-12-aged children and local college students are invited to participate. Teams compete for prizes by launching three water rockets at a target from a specific distance. The closest rocket wins a trophy for the school, medals for the team members, and their names are to be engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Physics Department lounge.

Wachusett Regional High School won, with very good accuracy in their launches. View their best launch here, where the rocket missed the target by only a meter.

Stephan Koehler, assistant professor of  physics said the turnout was typical for the event, and didn’t think the rain kept competitors away. “I think this was the best organized meet we’ve had,” he said. “In terms of the shooting, this was not the best shooting meet. In the past we’ve had teams actually hit the target. We are are sorely missing South High. In the past South High showed up and had and excellent setup. They are the ones that have hit the target.”

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