In celebration of TARC’s 15th anniversary, we asked our rocketeers to pen short essays describing why they participate in the TARC program. Three finalists were selected for publication on the TARC site and one received a first place prize of $500. Suvas Kota’s essay won second runner up.
“Why I do TARC”
By: Suvas Kota
(Downingtown STEM Academy)
Our whole class was buzzing with excitement throughout the teacher’s narration of one of mankind’s most valuable achievements. Still in elementary school, our young minds were fascinated by space and rockets taking people to the moon. To conclude her story, the teacher asked everyone to express what they would do if they were in NASA. Everyone responded saying they wanted to be an astronaut.
I had something different to say.
“ I want to make rockets,” I chirped enthusiastically.
While the rest of my fourth grade class was intrigued with people going into space, I was more captivated with the mode of transport that took those people to space. From that day onward, I developed an immense love for rockets. In fact, my passion for them skyrocketed. I was delighted by the ingenuity and brilliance of rockets and their functionality. As rockets soared to greater heights, so did my curiosity and passion for them. I would read books about rockets, watch videos about rockets, and dream about making rockets. When I first heard about the Downingtown Rocketeering Collective (DRC), I jumped with joy because I could finally fulfill my dreams of building rockets!
I first got my hands on a rocket, albeit a small one, during a DRC camp in the summer of 8th grade. My hands were shaking with excitement as I carefully cut the body tubes for my rocket. My fingertips were quivering with joy as I constructed the engine mounts and inserted the parachutes. I nodded my head with satisfaction as I painted my rocket with a bright yellow and a deep red. And with great thrill, I launched my very own rocket into the expanse of the blue sky and watched it rise. With a small puff, the parachute ejected and the rocket came tumbling down slowly. As I watched the rocket complete its adventure, I immediately decided that I would stay with DRC throughout high school as well.
Under our helpful and amazing mentor, my knowledge and skills of making rockets greatly improved. Along with making rockets for TARC, I found great joy in interacting with my peers at the club as well. Although the club consisted of students of all sorts of ages and schools, we were able to come together as a team because we all shared the same love and passion for rockets. With guidance from our mentor and senior members of my club, I learned how to use CAD (Computer-Aided Design software). I even learned how to use the laser cutter and engraver to make special parts for our rocket! Learning all this techniques and applying them was a fun and enjoyable experience for me. Using software to design and predict a rocket’s performance was also very insightful. The most invigorating and fun part of TARC, however, was the process of constructing complex rockets and launching them – as a team!
The TARC program has been extremely beneficial to me because it has given me the opportunity to expand and develop my skills in engineering and physics. In addition, TARC has greatly improved my collaboration and leadership qualities by allowing me to connect and cooperate with all sorts of people. TARC has also been successful in teaching me the important aspects of rockets and their functionalities. With the skills I gained from doing TARC, I have a strong foundation in rocketry, and I know that it will help me in my further education and my career. The most important aspect of TARC, however, is that it has sustained and fueled my passion for rockets. As I engineer and build complicated rockets for TARC, I envision myself in the future, building rockets to take mankind to new and greater heights.