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Image provided by Lexington-Richland School District Five.

Lexington Richland School District Five's Center for Advanced Technical Studies teacher Dr. Martin Cwiakala completed Level 1 High Power Rocketry Certification (Level 1 HPR) at the Rocketry Organization of South Carolina field.

The process of Level 1 HPR involves constructing a rocket suitable for H-class rocket motors, successfully flying, then recovering the rocket. A thirteen-point checklist is reviewed before the flight. Cwiakala constructed an Apogee Components Zephyr flown with an AeroTech H100W rocket motor to approximately 2000 feet. The rocket was painted with the letters ‘CATS’ on the side and The Center’s logo on a fin. Two fins also included the District Five logo.

Cwiakala's creation will serve as a marketing tool to attract students to the aerospace program that he teaches. The rocket certification will allow him to purchase high-power rocket engines up to the I-class, and allow him to mentor students for Level 1 HPR certification.

“Model rocketry with well-defined objectives like those present in the TARC competition provide a clear application for science and engineering with applied principles,” Cwiakala said. "As a result, I will utilize rocket science in all of my engineering classes.”

The major focus of the aerospace engineering course at The Center is to expose students to the world of aeronautics, flight and engineering through the fields of aeronautics, aerospace engineering and related areas of study. Lessons engage students in engineering design problems related to aerospace information systems, astronautics, rocketry, propulsion, the physics of space science, space life sciences, the biology of space science, principles of aeronautics, structures and materials, and systems engineering.

Cwiakala mentored five students in 2020 who competed in The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC). TARC is the world's largest student model rocket competition. Student winners took home more than $22,000 in prize money.

Next, Cwiakala will host the RocCATS (CATS Rocketry Team) for this year’s TARC challenge. Returning RocCATS members will not only work on the TARC competition but will also work towards Level 1 HPR certification. Level 1 HPR shows potential aerospace employers that not only a theoretical knowledge base exists, but practical knowledge as well.

Additional information regarding rocketry in South Carolina is available online.

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