MAKE A BALLOON ROCKET!

This was a monumental weekend for NASA as they launched the Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Centre. Aboard the ship were NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. They arrived safely at the International Space Station after a 19-hour journey. The Dragon spacecraft is soon to become the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station!!

You will need:

  • 1 balloon
  • 1 long piece of string
  • 1 plastic straw
  • Tape

Method:

  1. Tie one end of the string to a chair.

2. Thread the other end of the string through the straw.

3. Pull the string tight and tie it to another support in the room.

4. Blow up the balloon (but don’t tie it.) Pinch the end of the balloon and tape the balloon to the straw as shown.


5. You’re ready for launch. Let go and watch the rocket fly!

Why does it work?

As the air rushes out of the balloon, it creates a forward motion called THRUST. Thrust is a pushing force created by energy. In the balloon experiment, our thrust comes from the energy of the balloon forcing the air out. Different sizes and shapes of balloons will create more or less thrust. In a real rocket, thrust is created by the force of burning rocket fuel as it blasts from the rockets engine – as the engines blast down, the rocket goes up!

Questions

1. Does the shape of the balloon affect how far (or fast) the rocket travels?
2. Does the length of the straw affect how far (or fast) the rocket travels?
3. Does the type of string affect how far (or fast) the rocket travels? (try fishing line, nylon string, cotton ,etc.)
4. Does the angle of the string affect how far (or fast) the rocket travels?

Extension

Can you design your balloon to look like a Rocket?

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