In 2016, Chief Dull Knife College competed again in the First Nations LAUNCH program that takes place annually in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There were two teams created for this years competition, with one team building a rocket for the AISES challenge and another team building on for the Tribal Challenge.
The requirements for the AISES rockets were to build a two stage rocket that would deploy a self-constructing space station or satellite that would expand to twice its compressed size. The Chief Dull Knife AISES team created and built a Saturn 5 style rocket and a space station payload that had extendable wings.
The requirements for the Tribal Challenge rockets were to build a two stage rocket that would collect data that would be used to describe an experiment designed by the team. The CDKC Tribal Challenge team built a modified replica of a V2 rocket with an altimeter designed to measure the top altitude achieved by the rocket.
Having won the overall competition in 2015, the CDKC Rocket Club was privileged to bring back the rocket from 2015 for the inaugural launch of the 2016 competition, with the Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, Rebecca Kleefisch, pressing the ignition. The rest of the day was filled with high powered rockets tearing through the sky and falling back to the ground. In one instance, a rocket exploded safely in the air, while in another, and ejected motor and case flew directly at the CDKC Rocket Club table. After hours and hours of work, the Tribal Challenge rocket was grounded after a guide pin was broken. The AISES team would spend all day trying to trouble shoot problems with their rocket, but they were finally able to get it on the launch pad for the final launch of the day. The rocket successfully launched and deployed its parachutes, but the space station release snagged and remained tethered to the rocket.
Although not as successful as the previous year, the rocket club at CDKC has come along ways in the two years it has existed. Many of the advisors and leaders of the First Nations Launch program have taken notice and are excited to see what we build in the coming years.