Making Rockets More EfficientCharlie Fenske, USA The Virgin Galactic Pioneer Award, 16-18
Charlie (16) lives on Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts and he’s fascinated with aerospace engineering, particularly rockets. Rockets are used in everything from exploring space to environmental research and the global positioning systems that help us figure out where we’re going with our smartphone map apps. He’s been building his own rockets since 6th grade, and Charlie was recently inspired to find out if he could make jet rockets even more efficient. Typical jet performance is controlled by fins built with complex mechanical pieces that can weigh down a jet and lead it to perform at lower speeds and altitudes. After experimenting with multiple fin types, Charlie determined that Synthetic Jet Actuators offer the best aerodynamic control for rockets. The more efficient rockets are, the less fuel they’ll use, keeping costs low. Charlie believes that if the Synthetic Jet Actuator is used in the production of all rockets they’ll be even more effective at performing their various missions on Earth or in space.