2015 Rocket Building and Launch

By: Katelyn Petersen

The Problem

The problem is that we need to build a soda bottle rocket, but we do not know how. We must research to find how to build a rocket and what designs work best.

The Background Research

Rocket Body

Our rocket body will be made out of at least one 2 liter soda bottle and will have 3-4 fins made out of cardboard attached to it.


One question we had was what was the point of the fins. The fins help with the stability of the rocket when it is in flight. The fins can be made out of different material but cardboard was what we had decided to use. We also looked at what shapes of fins worked best and we chose to use a knife blade shaped fin.


For a one bottle bottle rocket you would need a 10-20 inch in diameter parachute. In order to make the parachute you would need a garbage bag, tape, and string. You would take the string and attach it to both you rocket body and parachute.

Nose Cone

The nose cone should be made out of construction paper, pointed, and wrapped in tape. Also a small amount of weight should be added to the nose cone to balance out the front and back of the rocket.


  1. The rocket must be made out of at least one 2 liter bottle, and the bottle must have been from a carbonated drink (this is because the plastic is thicker, the plastic needs to be thicker so that when we pump it up it holds).
  2. There can't be metal parts anywhere on the rocket.
  3. You must make the parachute it can not be pre-made.
  4. The rocket parts are allowed to separate but must stay attached (no parts can fall to the ground during the flight).
  5. Completed rockets must weigh under 300g

Brainstorm Solutions

When first thinking about how we wanted to build our rocket we wanted to use only one bottle but once we build our fins we saw that the fins were almost as big as the one bottle so we made our rocket two bottle taller to make things more proportionate. We also had a few trial and errors with the fins and what material to make them out of and how to attach them.

Choose the Best Solution

We chose to make our rocket out of three bottles with foam core fins and a nose cone made our of tag board. We also had a parachute made out of a doubled up garbage bag, tape, and string.


We built our rocket over the process of six days.

Day One

It's the first day of rocket building. I am just a single empty soda bottle waiting to become something great. Katelyn and Gaby, the ones that are going to make me into something great needed to do lots of research before anything else could happen.

Day Two

Today, Katelyn and Gaby did a lot more research and finally finished. They then started looking for a template for my fins.

Day Three

Today Gaby and Katelyn printed out the fin template they had found. When they fimally got that printed out to the right size they started tracing the template onto some foam core, and started cutting the fins out. Finally by the end of class they were able to have all three fins cut out. They also took a second bottle and cut the bottom of it off so that they could attach it to the bottom of the first bottle (the first part of me!).

Day Four

Gaby and Katelyn took me home and decided to get some extra work done they took the second bottle and attached it to the first bottle. They also took a third bottle, cut it and attached it to the second bottle. Once all three bottles were attached (me) they spray painted me with chalkboard paint. They had to add multiple layers of paint so while they waited for each layer to dry they worked on wrapping my fins in duct tape. When I was fully covered in paint and dry they began shaping my nose cone and cutting it down to a size that would fit me. Even after doing all of that they cut our my parachute from a black garbage bag, reinforced the corners and hole punched them so that next class they could attach the string.

Day Five

Today we are back in class. Gaby is working on attaching my fins and Katelyn is tying string to my parachute. As they are wrapping things up for today's class they attach the parachute strings to the top of me.

Day Six

Today is the last work day Gaby and Katelyn researched the proper way to fold a parachute. When they figure that out they fold my parachute and put it inside my nose cone. They then need to research how to find my center of gravity so that they can add weight to my nose cone. They finally they found my center of gravity and added some clay to my nose cone to make me top heavy. When all of that was done Gaby wrote inspirational words on me (that is where I got my name Inspiration).

What I looked like when I was completely done

Big image

Launch Day!

Today is launch day!

First Launch

On my first launch there was a little trouble attaching me to the launch base, but eventually Katelyn, Gaby, and their teacher Mr.Collins were able to get me attached. The rest of the class and the few people in the stand did their countdown from five and off I went. I flew! Sadly though my parachute did not come out so I hit the ground pretty hard and my nose cone was in bad shape. Katelyn and Gaby ran over picked me up and they got to work on bandaging me up for the second launch. They were able to straighten my nose cone out pretty well and they wrapped in more tape because it had ripped. Yes, my parachute failed to deploy but I was the fifth rocket to launch in my class and I was in the lead!
Katelyn 1st launch 1

Second Launch

On my second launch we had a little less trouble attaching me to the launch base. The class did their count down again and off I went. Again my nose cone stayed on so my parachute did not deploy but I went very high.
Katelyn-Launch 2


After launching our rocket twice there are some changes Gaby and I would have made to our nose cone. First of all we would have made the bottom of the nose cone a little wider so that it would've been harder for it to get stuck on the body. We also would have attached tabs to the body that the bottom of our nose cone could have rested on so that as the rocket flew up the pressure wouldn't have been able to puss the nose cone on far enough that it wouldn't fall off.


I am very proud of our rocket. There are some changes that we would make if we did this again but I believe that Gaby and I did some great work and I know we learned a lot.