Busy and Not Forgotten

Posted: 24th October 2013 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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Hi All, It’s been a long time since this has been updated. Lots of excuses. Here’s what’s been happening: 1. we finished 17/36 at the 2013 USLI 2. we took 1st Place in the Tribal Competition and 1st Place in the AISES competition in the 2013 First Nations Launch 3. we are heavily involved with multi-rotor vehicles with a total of 15 in the class as of this writing. Five of them (2 tris and 3 quads) are scratch built and fly very well. We are learning about autopilots, all kinds of batteries, FPV, autonomous flight and stuff like that. NO USLI this year because of the sequestration! Rats! and Double Rats!!. We hope to team up with the University of Washington and take a trip during Spring Break to Black Rock, Nevada to fly some big and fast stuff.

New rocket launches will be published soon.

Short History of Events Since 11/11

Posted: 10th May 2012 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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We are sorry that we’ve been neglecting this blog. Very much has happend from November 11  through May 2012. Here is a brief list:

January, February and March launches of our USLI rocket Sky Bolt
USLI presentations in December, February and April
Successful rocket launch at USLI event in Huntsville, AL in April

First Nations Rocket Launch Competition in Milwaukee, WI in April where we won 1st place in the launch portion of the American Indian Society of Engineers and Scientists competition

Results of both competitions will be made know to us the latter part of May.

Three members of the rocket team are NASA summer interns, 2 to Haskell for GIS and one to Kennedy Space Center. Gary will be a NASA faculty mentor at Ames Research Center in CA

We are starting to think about next year’s projects.

More and pictures to follow soon.

So, now we are preparing for next year

Cold Day Launch

Posted: 20th November 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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We launched Gordon’s LOC Precision HyTech on a G80-7. Altitude guesstimate is about 2000 feet. We lost it and the altimeter in the high grass. Cold Day! Winds about 10 kts from the north. Here is a short video of the launch.

We’re in the 2011-2012 USLI Rocket Project

Posted: 19th October 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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We were just notified that your proposal for then 2011-2012 University Student Launch Initiative was accepted. Along with Northwest Indian College are 41 other institutions. See our USLI blog at


First Nations Launch Competition Parameters

Posted: 17th October 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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October 17, 2011 Registration Deadline for First Workshop
October 29 & 30, 2011 First Workshop at College of Menominee Nation
December 5, 2011 Registration Deadline for Second Workshop
December 17 & 18, 2011 Second Workshop at College of Menominee Nation
December 31, 2011 Proposal Due
February 3, 2012 Preliminary Design Report (PDR) Due
February 17, 2012 Critical Design Report (CDR) Due
March 16, 2012 Flight Readiness Report (FRR) Due
April 27, 2012 Oral Report – Best Western Hotel
April 28, 2012 LAUNCH!
May 14, 2012 Flight Report (FR) Due
May 31, 2012 Results for Competition Released
The flight competition entails:

Successfully flying a rocket obtaining “inflight-autostability” using an CTI 54mm, J140 motor with a 8.5 second burn. This challenge suggests that as the motor burns propellant, the rocket will be engineered to redistribute weight, rocket forces, or both to autostablize the rocket while inflight. The flight competition will be judged by the output of a competition-provided 3 axis accelerometer.

New This Year:

Aesthetic Award: An award will be given to the team whose rocket has the most innovative and professional appearance. Details that will be looked at include: paint, design, visibility, construction details, & overall “Wow” factor. This award will be voted on by the judges at the time of oral presentations. The winning team will be presented with the “Aesthetic” award at the banquet on Saturday night.

Team Spirit Award: This award will be given by a vote of all competing Tribal College teams to the team that shows interactive spirit, helpfulness, and cooperation. Teams will be encouraged to look at not only how the the other teams interact with each other but also how they interact with other team members, judges and staff. The winning team will be presented with the “Great Spirit” award at the banquet on Saturday night.

The Early Days of the Space Center

Posted: 14th October 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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What started out as a tongue-in-cheek classroom activity in November of 2009 has turned into a powerful learning opportunity for Northwest Indian College students. 

Rockets! Rockets? That was a topic of interest for a couple of students, Justin and Robert, while sitting in Gary’s classroom after the day’s classes. “What can we do with our electronics, computer, and robotics knowledge?”, they mused. One of them suggested rockets and an Internet search quickly demonstrated that that would be an expensive route. They persisted and discovered air/water powered rockets. Recycled soda pop bottles, tire pump, a few feet of ½ inch PVC and we’d be in business. 

Justin assembled a launch pad and Gary scouted out the neighborhood recycling bins for 2 liter bottles. A couple of days later we were launching bottles into the air in front of the classroom. Naturally, we attracted a slew of onlookers and well-wishers. We publicized and held weekly launches over the lunch hour that were enthusiastically attended by students as well as the college’s employees 

We quickly realized that there is much more to these rockets than filling with water, pressurizing with air and launching them. Stability, gentle recovery, and re-use ability are key if one wants to do any sort of altitude research, most efficient water/air proportions, amount of air pressure, etc. Did we mention math, materials research, Internet research, aerodynamics, or physics? All of these came into play as we, (by know we added five more students), became more “serious” about how to get them higher and faster. We learned that the current record (2009) for a water/air pressurized rocket is 2,024 feet. Our best altitude to date is 454 feet. We’ve a ways to go! 

One of the Internet websites needed and organizational name as part of the registration process. We decided to register ourselves as the Northwest Indian College Space Center. That’s how we got started; but it was just the beginning!

NASA Article about NWIC Space Center REZRiders

Posted: 28th September 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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NASA has posted an article about our USLI team’s adventures, called “Don’t Let Inexperience Stop You From Flying“. It’s a good article about us and it’s on the NASA web site.

Reception at Washington State Space Grant Consortium

Posted: 27th September 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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Thursday, September 29, 2011, members of the REZRiders team will present their poster of 2010-2011 team events to the participants of the WSSGC reception to be held at the University of Washington.

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Analyze, Build, and Flight-test Rockets

Our Proposal to NASA for the ESMD Project: MSFC3-27-SD, Spacecraft

Analyze, build, and flight-test rockets to develop systems engineering skills.  A rocket is to be built that will target an exact altitude which lies between 3500 ft and 7500 ft (above ground level).  The target altitude is negotiable, but must be declared at the start of the project, and must be achieved within a band of ± 1%. A trajectory algorithm is to be written to predict  the position, velocity, and acceleration of the rocket from liftoff to touch down. The trajectory algorithm is to be anchored with data from a series of ground and flight tests.  Other pertinent engineering parameters (eg., drag as a function of velocity or time, tank pressure as a function of burn time (for propulsion systems which use fluid propellants), motor chamber pressure, etc.) should also be predicted, measured, and correlated. It is strongly encouraged, but not required, to incorporate an active onboard energy management system into the rocket system to more precisely achieve the target altitude.

was accepted and we were awarded $4000.00 to pursue this project.

Quiet, but Busy!

Posted: 26th August 2011 by gbrandt in Uncategorized
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An awful lot has transpired since the last post. I and four team members went to a NASA Advanced Rocketry Workshop in Las Cruces, NM the latter part of July. Kiya earned her Level 1 Certification, our team won the “Most Spirited” award, we visited America’s Spaceport (still under construction) and we launched high powered rockets at Alamogordo near the White Sands Proving Grounds.

The class finished up on 8/12 with many rocket adventures. The culmination was a class built high powered rocket that we launched at our launch facilities. Class and team members also spent some time with the Women, Girls, Men and Boys Conference in Gold Bar, WA with a water bottle build and fly activity with conference participants. We also did a day-long air/paper and water/soda bottle rocket build and launch with 15 high school students from the Summer Science Academy. Great fun was had by all!!

And, last but not least, we’ve had an article about us published by NASA and placed on their website.

More words and pictures to follow.