What happens to a raw egg that travels via rocket into the sky? Science teacher Evan Gaffney (pictured) created an opportunity that allowed his astronomy and astrophysics students to answer that question when they launched "Operation Eggstronaut." The original design challenge was to build a reusable rocket and recovery system that could successfully launch an egg to an altitude of 1,000 feet or higher, and recover it intact.
First, students were tasked with working independently to design a capsule to contain and protect the egg inside the rocket. To attain the desired altitude, the capsule needed to be significantly lighter than the egg itself, with padding thin enough to fit inside the rocket. Each student created a capsule and tested the design by parachuting it from the top of the science building. Students added extra weight to their prototypes to simulate the weight of the rocket.
After determining the best capsule design, students collaborated on rocket construction. The rocket was built to deliver data, with a tiny video camera to record the egg's perspective and a digital altimeter to document the rocket's top speed and altitude.
So, what happened to the egg? It clocked nearly 200 miles per hour, reached an altitude of 1,180 feet and went over easy, touching down by parachute unharmed. The launch was a success!