Members of the Hope Association of Rocketry and Performance Aviation (HARPA) recently hosted their first launch event at Park Township Airport of Holland, MI. They tested medium to high power designs built by sophomore engineering student and launch director, David Hallock ’22, and aided by senior engineering student and range safety officer, Owen Donahoe ’20. HARPA is one of Hope College’s newest student organizations. It is open to all majors and is dedicated to cultivating student’s knowledge and experiences in the areas of rocketry and aeronautics through amateur rocketry. A running theme for HARPA is proving that one does not need to be a “rocket scientist” or engineer to find success (and fun) launching rockets or to experiment with rocket design.
On Saturday, October 19, over 100 spectators from Hope and the Holland area crowded outside of the launch pad radius. Eyes turned to the sky as the three launches of the day all successfully lifted off the pad for a combined total altitude of 7100ft. Engines ranged from 1.35 pounds thrust to a 31.5 pound thrust, high power engine that lifted a 5 foot 1 inch tall HOPE rocket 3400ft into the clear sky at over 500 miles per hour (see launch sequence below). This feat, however, was undermined by a rogue southwesterly wind that carried the rocket into a thick forested area adjacent to the airport where it has yet to be found or recovered.
Despite the loss, the launch was an astounding success, and the members of HARPA are excited to make improvements for future launches in the spring. Contact HARPA if you would like more information about how to get involved or would like to be on their mailing list.