Young Engineers Launch Original Rockets

Soaring through the air, more than 20 rockets are launched by students taking the “Young Engineers” elective from schools in the Westmoreland area like Mt. Pleasant, Greensburg Salem, Greensburg Central Catholic, and Greater Latrobe. On Thursday, October 28, 2021 the students launched their original model rockets sponsored by Kennametal at Rotary Field. This is the 12th year that Latrobe students were given the opportunity to participate in this launch.
While constructing and launching these model rockets, students participating learned engineering skills, problem solving, and in-depth thinking. The rockets had to be 10-15 inches long to meet the requirements set by Binky Sargent, a staff member at Kennametal. In order to make each group different, students were able to modify the weight, cone size, and fine shapes and sizes. Students were given the option to insert clay and/or pennies to change the weight of the rocket, and also given the opportunity to use the library’s 3-D printer to produce viable fins to make their rockets succeed.
Despite the breezy weather, one rocket stood out from the five groups involved from Latrobe. The Among Us Express, built by Latrobe Seniors Cole Pfeifer, Abby Kostic, and Jake Kettering, performed very well.
“I think it performed a lot better than we initially intended to,” said Latrobe’s Cole Pfeifer.
His group’s rocket got to about 300-40 feet in altitude before falling back down to the surface. They added pennies throughout the rocket’s hollow body to make sure it had enough balance and weight to ascend higher than the other 27 rockets.
“We didn’t put much effort into the fins development, so we thought it wouldn’t ascend as high as it actually did.”
The fins were a basic black cardboard cut-out with a white paint and sparkle splatter for creative star-like detail. On the side, “Among

Us” is displayed in white writing so if it got lost, people would know whose rocket it was.
“If the rocket’s weight isn’t properly balanced, it could fall instead of maintaining a steady trajectory.” added Pfeifer.
This being said, The Among Us Express trumped almost every rocket launched that afternoon and although few groups didn’t succeed in this launch, participants gained valuable engineering skills that can be used in their future plans of becoming engineers.