Projects > Water Rocket & Flight Competitions

Water Rocket Lab
Water Rocket Lab for Unified Engineering (16.001 Materials & Structures + 16.002 Signals & System). Goal was to design, build, and launch a water bottle rocket with a bagel payload at least 50 meters away.

Conducted baseline and sensitivity analyses for variable parameters such as center of pressure, center of gravity, stability margin, launch angle, and mass of water required for the rocket to achieve over 50 meter distance. Analyzed performance and stability of rocket model to determine coefficient of drag using a wind tunnel, and chose/built final design. Designed and manufactured nose cone and fins, and assembled rocket using two Pepsi brand 2L bottles, polystyrene modeling foam, glue, and tape. We named our rocket "Finneas" for its over-sized fins.

Huge thank you to my teammates Haley Bates and Jacob Swiezy :)

Video from our hilarious launch! Finneas the Rocket definitely lived up to its name!

Here are more images from our design/build/launch process!


Glued the fins onto a piece of paper for easy addition and removal from fuselage of bottle rocket. Designed the fins such that the rocket would be stable when filled with water. This caused the fins to be a bit oversized.

wind tunnel testing

Testing Finneas the Rocket in the wind tunnel to determine coefficient of drag.

Finneas the Rocket

Manufactured water rocket + extra fins on the side.


Adjusting the size of the nozzle to prevent water leakage between the nozzle and the launch tube during water pressurization of launch.


Fun award for our over-sized fins and hilarious flight

wind tunnel testing

Finneas the Rocket ready for launch!

broken fins

We had glued the fins along the grain of the wood, parallel to the direction of flight rather than perpendicular to it, so the slightest amount of stress broke the fins during flight.

Flight Competition
Flight Competition for Unified Engineering (16.003 Fluid Dynamics + 16.004 Thermodynamics). Designed an airplane to fly around a race course with the heaviest possible payload in the shortest amoung of time by optimizing design parameters for the Unified Design Competition. Wrote a program to optimize several different design variables pertaining to the geometry of the wings and other control surfaces. Suitable taper, washout, and dihedral values for the wing were chosen as well as a proper angle of attachment to the fuselage. Designed aircraft configuration around suitable stability and control parameters such as static margin and spiral stability. Here are more images from our design/build/launch process!

Our plane performed much much better than predicted. Our time of revolution was much faster than calculated, for both the empty case and the payload case, and the payload we could carry was nearly double that which we expected.

Huge thank you to my teammates Haley Bates, Matthew Luerman, and Alan Osmundson!

Video from our flight!

Here are more images from our design, build, and flight process.



completed airplane

Completed airplane