Junior Builds Homemade Rocket, Launch Set for April 11


Kai Hori’s latest invention is aiming to be out of this world.

Kai, a junior at Williston and co-founder of the Williston Rocket Team, told The Willistonian that he is aiming to compete in the American Rocketry Challenge, where middle and high schoolers launch and land a rocket containing a raw egg without damaging the egg. His first launch will take place on April 11 on Galbraith Field.

“Rockets are basically huge fireworks, but this motor that I bought is really, really powerful, and they fly at around 60 meters per second,” Kai explained. “The motor has a bit of gunpowder on the top, and when all of the fuel is used, the gunpowder is lit, which pushes the upper body of the rocket away, which has a parachute. The parachute brings the raw egg safely down to the ground.”

He continued, “It’s the first time for our team to build, design, and launch a rocket, and I’m not expecting us to win the national, but I want the experience of manufacturing and design. It’s really fun; You don’t get to build a rocket very often.”

At almost a meter tall, SN-1 (Serial Number 1) is predicted to launch around 240 meters into the air at 60 meters per second.

Kai said his favorite part of the process was designing the rocket, which took him three weeks. To minimize the cost, he used 3D printed parts which he designed himself.

This not Kai’s first foray into rocketry, although he said this is his first time building one larger than a meter. Previously, the biggest rocket he’d built was 40 centimeters, which he launched in Japan.

“In Japan, you have to have a license to deal with fireworks, and even the weakest motors require licenses,” he explained. “The motor on my current rocket is around three times bigger than the last one, but I don’t even need a license to launch it since I’m in America.”

Aashish Suresh, a junior and co-founder of the Rocket Team, has already designed his rocket, and said he plans to build and launch it in the near future.

Aashish has always been passionate about rocketry.

“I always liked watching videos about them and creating model rockets,” he said. So far, it’s been a pretty rewarding experience. It has helped me expand my knowledge in rocketry and science.”