“When is Launch?”

“When is Launch?”

We get that question a lot. So, rather than keep everybody waiting, here is a quick update.

The short answer is, “Coming soon.” The long answer is much more complicated and balances quite a few variables.

The biggest factor in play is our lack of components. When the team finished testing this summer, it was due to a hairline fissure in our liquid oxygen (LOX) tank. Though barely noticeable to the naked eye, this defect could have caused a catastrophic explosion with further testing. We returned the tank to its manufacturer for analysis and remanufacture, which can be a lengthy process. Additionally, the fins and nose cone arrived after testing. Though not necessary for testing, they need to be added to the rocket before we can launch.

Castle Point Rocketry is also in the middle of a transition. Since the founders are no longer Stevens undergraduates, we are navigating the challenges associated with acquiring real estate and transferring funds. (All while pursuing graduate school or full-time jobs!) Luckily, we have three great senior design teams to help tackle further engineering projects.

The final challenge to a set launch date is the same as last year: permits. Until the rocket passes our eight-step testing process, we cannot apply to launch. Even after applying, we will need to wait for approval — and maybe return for more tests.

The primary objective is still to put a liquid-fueled rocket beyond the Karman Line. We have some more help getting there, but testing is still in a temporary holding pattern.

So all that is to say: “Soon. Very soon.”

Dakota