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Engineering Design Challenge: Spacecraft Structures [Grades 6 - 9]
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The structural elements that hold together an aerospace vehicle must be strong and as light as possible in order to minimize the fuel needed to get to orbit. NASA engineers continually strive to develop new materials and methods in structural design. In this challenge, students will undertake the problem of designing a strong but lightweight thrust structure that can withstand the launch of a bottle rocket by means of a wooden lever.
Using simple materials such as craft sticks, cardboard, and hot-melt glue students strive to make their structure lighter while maintaining its' strength. The goal is to construct a launcher that can repeatedly withstand the force of launching a one-kilogram bottle of water one meter into the air.