The constant buzz of cicadas surrounded the Clark Aerospace team, Thursday, and the 95 degree unrelenting desert heat shined down on everyone equally. Most of the students had gotten around one hour of sleep and were exhausted.
No one on the Clark Aerospace team seemed to notice as they anxiously, eagerly and impatiently waited for their name to be called and their rocket cleared to launch. “Fly straight, fly safe,” said the announcer. “I think that’s everybody’s mantra here today.”
Clark Aerospace’s name was called over the PA and everyone got out their devices to record. There was a complete intensity in their gaze. Keith Stansbury, Clark Aerospace adviser grinned and paced as he watched his students faces. The few students allowed closer to the launch site joined in on the count down, “10… 9… 8…” After the one, there is always a pause as everyone holds their breath to see if it will launch and how well it will fly.
The rocket flew beautifully for a few seconds before there was a catastrophic failure. A part of the rocket appeared and spiraled upwards, leaving a trail of smoke behind it. Pieces fell but a large part of the body survived and landed safely in the desert, away from spectators.
Stansbury said he was absolutely tickled with how well the students did this year in the competition.
No word, yet on the results of the scores.