Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 28 September 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Like to launch water boost rockets?

You might have enjoyed making your own paper rockets and watching them soar in the air. Each time you see your paper rocket fly off, the desire to make a real rocket must have increased. So, how would you feel if you were given an opportunity to make your own miniature rocket using advanced components rather than mere sheets of paper?

However, this is something you really can do in this country itself, thanks to the initiatives taken by the Arthur C. Clarke Centre Institute for Modern Technology (ACCIMT) which organises a competition in this connection annually.

This year’s venture of the ‘Water Boost Rocket’ competition took place on September 27, and today we will give you details about this amazing competition as well as the interesting piece of science called the Water Boost Rocket.

Indika Medagangoda, a Research Scientist of the Space Applications Division of the ACCIMT, who also happens to be the driving force behind the competition, filled us in about this exciting initiative.

The competition

The Water Boost Rocket Competition has been an annual competition held by the ACCIMT since 2005. This is held because the ACCIMT is a member of the Space Awareness and Education Working Group of the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) and this latter organisation had decided in 2004 to conduct competitions to kindle up the enthusiasm among children.

Working Group members are entrusted with the task of organising the national level competitions, and Medagangoda is the Working Group member who is acting on behalf of the Space Applications Division of the ACCIMT.

The competition is open to children between 12-16 years and the winners, along with their teachers will be sponsored to attend the regional competitions held in the country hosting the annual meeting of the APRSAF.

Winners of the 2005 and 2006 Sri Lankan competitions went to Japan and Indonesia respectively.

Sri Lanka won third place at the competition held in Japan. In 2007, the number of winners sponsored to take part in the regionals was increased from one to five and the winners flew to India to take part in the regional competition. In addition, since 2006, it has been decided to hold workshops before the competition in order to give the students a good knowledge about Water Boost Rockets.

The competition mainly focus on the stability and the launcher of the rocket. Contestants are given a target in terms of distance for the rockets to land and marks are given accordingly taking into account the deviations from the target. The rockets leave the launcher and travel as a projectile and land on the ground.

The success depends on many factors such as the proportion of water inside the rocket, pressure, stability, launch angle and so on. Students of schools with Astronomical Societies which have registered under the Space Applications Division of the ACCIMT can participate in these annual competitions. All it takes is a free registration and the membership would definitely give exposure to many exciting things like this competition.

This year’s competition was held on September 27 at the University of Moratuwa playground. The winners will compete at the regionals in Vietnam. Even though some of you couldn’t register for this year’s event, you could target next year’s competition.

How to make a water boost rocket

Where the construction of the rocket is concerned, it is pretty simple and can be done using plastic bottles (PET bottles). A nozzle should be attached to the opening of the bottle, and this would act as the exhaust of the rocket or the ‘boattail’. Attach fins to the bottle symmetrically around the nozzle. Thereafter, make the ‘nose cone’ of the rocket on the bottom part of the bottle. Now that the construction is done, next would be to launch it.

The launcher should have a valve which can fit tightly to the nozzle (air tight) and it should also have a mechanism to release from the nozzle instantly. Then connect the valve to an air pump like a bicycle pump. With this set up, next fill a portion of the bottle with water by pouring water in through the nozzle.

Attach it to the valve of the launcher. The rocket should be in an upright or angled position at this stage. Thereafter, pressurise the content within the bottle by pumping air into it. Once the air and water get sufficiently pressurised, stop pumping and release the valve. The rocket will shoot out from its launcher according to Newton’s Third Law!

Although this sounds simple, precision and predictability is really important to get successful results and avoid accidents. Therefore, any attempt to make this should be under the supervision of a knowledgeable elder.

- Aravinda Dassanayake


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Donate Now |

| News | Editorial | Financial | Features | Political | Security | Spectrum | Impact | Sports | World | Plus | Magazine | Junior | Letters | Obituaries |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2008 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor