Rocket Trajectory Prediction

We tried to predict the trajectory of the Estes Badit model rocket. Originally, we planned to just use physics equations dealing with the laws of motion, to try to find the final landing spot of the rocket. We needed actual data to compare our predictions to, so we ran actual trials first and found the horizontal distance traveled by the rocket, and its average maximum height of the rocket. And then using the wind speed of an actual trial, and predicted the horizontal distance traveled by the rocket for that trial. We compared these results and found that they were not close at all. So we plotted the actual data that we collected, and saw that we could use a regression equation to fit the data. Using the wind speed as the independent variable, and the horizontal distance traveled as the dependent variable, we then predicted the horizontal distance traveled for each trial once again using this equation. We hypothesized that we would be able to predict the final landing spot within 25 meters of the actual landing spot of the rocket. When we used the physics equations of motion, on average, we were 63 meters off from the actual distance traveled. However, when we used the regression equation we were on average only 22.7 meters off from the actual data. We found that it is more accurate to use a regression equation derived from actual data collected rather than using physics equations. This was due to many uncontrolled variables such as humidity, temperature, and consistency that the physics equations did not take into account for, yet a regression equation did.

Research Done By:

Roshin Cherian

Andrew Zundel
Henry Ford II