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Jordan Hewitt Jordan Hewitt
Recommendations: 13

The True Eggstronaught

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She had a friend.

Sweat dripped from my brow, it’s salty consistency trickled down my face. My peers surrounded me as the red string in my hand cut against my skin. The air pump could be heard chugging along in the background as time began to slow. I watched as my partner's finished their final checks of the launchpad. A thumbs up begins the launch sequence. 10… I remain crouched my focus trained on the rocket. 9… Thoughts race through my mind, will Steve survive? 8… Flashbacks of the previous month began to surface. 7… Will our work pay off? Did we do everything correctly? 6… What happens if we fail? 5… What will I tell his mother if he dies? 4… What will my superiors think if we fail? 3… What will my peers think? 2… Stop. I need to focus. 1… This is it.

You see the Eggpollo program has been active for about a month. This project created by our superior would be our last job together before the disbanding of our group. My colleagues and myself would soon scatter to different institutions at the end of the Eggpollo missions. Perks of graduating middle school. All of your friends disappear for three months then show back up in different high schools across the state.  

Eggpollo was a name I created to describe our final project. Our mission was to design and launch our Eggstronauts with water bottle rockets. Now we were set up into multiple teams, each person had their own rocket but the team whose rocket launched the highest and had their Eggstronauts land safely would win. We were told about this project one month before launch date to get our little minds rolling and allow us time time to prepare for launch.

Perhaps a whole month may seem like a long time, especially with the way our overactive little minds ran rampant from subject to subject. But for some reason, the idea of space exploration captivated us. Not a moment was wasted during our four weeks of preparation. My development team spent many long nights, huddled around library computers, taking notes, printing diagrams, drawing up schematics, watching videos, and reading articles. Day after day all of my other classes hit the back burner as I prepared my design. Days during lectures led to my over enthusiastic teacher being muted by the ideas that circled my mind. Those genius breakthroughs were captured by some invisible hand, and thrown down into a small notebook which I would scribble into furiously. Not everyone appreciated my genius and I soon found myself frequently scolded for my brainstorming during minuscule academic endeavors such as "Math", or "English", or "Science". But I pressed on. Nothing was more important.

After the first week we had decided on a plan. The other three members would create experimental rockets. These experimental rockets would try new designs never attempted before. These risky designs would be used to test new methods that claimed to make a rocket go higher, to last longer in air, and return an Eggstronaut safely back to the surface of the earth. However we still remained unsure on these experimental designs and therefore, while the other three worked on their individual rockets, I would work on the one that would take us to victory. The rocket that was guaranteed to work flawlessly and efficiently. This grand task I accepted with great honor. Taking on such a task also landed me a spot as lead mission commander giving me full access to any and all of the program's resources.

The design that I settled on was relatively simple. A three stage system would ensure the most effective delivery of our Eggstronaut into space and deliver him safely back to earth. The first stage, the single propulsive system would launch the rocket to its maximum height. The second stage would remove the nose cone deploying a high strength parachute. The third stage would remove the launch pod from the main rocket and allow the capsule and the eggstronaut to descend safely via parachute and the natural pull of the earth's gravity.

In theory it would all work flawlessly. The plans were set and construction began. Choice of materials were quite simple; Two pressure holding cylinders would be used for the structure of the rocket. Sheets of high quality lightweight aerodynamic material were used for the fins. Lightweight polymer based heat reflecting paint was used as a surface coating. A Sheet of pliable air distributing material was used for the nose cone. Extremely fluffy and shock absorbing material was obtained for protecting the Eggstronaut. Yes high tech stuff I know, but all of these materials were completely necessary for the success of the program. The construction took a period of seventy-two hours including application of the outer surface coating and the assembly of all of the components. Our fuel was a mixture between oxygen pressure and a healthy amount of dihydrogen monoxide. As the rocket was completed, soon began the final stage of preparation. Selecting a single brave soul to venture into the heavens above.

The initial selection process began with twelve candidates. Each one birthed for the sole purpose of space exploration. Slowly and methodically I was able to weed out the weak shelled individuals. Many different tasks such as application of high G forces and violent shaking quickly thinned out the heard. Sadly two candidates perished  during the testing process when their primary organs exploded outward in a tragic accident. But the team quickly moved past the loss of their closest friends. The demise of the two prospects seemed to drive the group of remaining members forward. Almost as if this mission was to honor those who lost their lives in a crucial part of the preparation. Finally I was able to determine our Eggstronaut for the first Eggpollo mission. His name was Steve. Steve the Eggstronaut was honored to be chosen and never ceased to hold a smile for the remainder of the mission preparation.

Launch day arrived and nerves were on end.  Each member of my team cautiously transported their rocket and their chosen Eggstronaut to the launch site. Teams from all sections of the school soon gathered together in a large field. Each design team would launch their rockets in order of their team number. My team stood and watched our competitors launch before us. As group number thirteen, we would be the last to launch that day. Rocket after rocket launched upwards gracing the sky  for a brief moment before plummeting to the ground. A majority of groups relied on their return pods protecting their Eggstronauts from death. Many groups failed and grief soon began to take over the day. The carnage of failed rockets and dead Eggstonauts soon collected in a pile within a large plastic container that would transport these failed scientific experiments to the scrap yard. Only the successful rockets seemed to be kept by the smiling young scientists.

Finally our turn came. The three experimental rockets succeeded in launching however the results were less than satisfying. Another group still held the record for the day and our success came down to our final rocket. My design, my Eggstonaught, my construction, and my planning. My team set up the rocket for me. My focus straining under the Coloradan heat. A thumbs up began the launch countdown. Ten seconds passed in what seemed like an eternity. The signal to launch directed me to yank back on a red string, speed and precision in the launch initiation was key to maximizing thrust from the system. The rocket launched upwards in a swift motion. It climbed higher and higher, surpassing any of the rockets before it. The rocket reached its peak and began its descent. The nose cone detached deploying a parachute that expanded instantly. The jolt ejected the bottom propulsion system leaving the final pod to gently descend to the ground below. All components worked perfectly as they were designed. All of my work, all of that time, payed off in the end. As Steve's pod reached earth my team and I traveled to the landing location with little haste. We quickly arrived and swarmed the pod. The viewing port showed Steve's smiling face. We extracted our brave Eggstronaut from his capsule and began medical evaluations. After a good looking over it was determined he was in perfect health.

Not only did we succeed in achieving record launch height but we also brought our Eggstronaut back to earth safely. This victory soon became the talk of our colleagues. Our development team was awarded by our superior for our valiant efforts in furthering Egg based space exploration. Our designs were adopted into a hall of fame where they are used by young aspiring astrophysicist to this day. Steve our little embryonic hero lived a full life. He lived in the fame and glory until the day he became sick with an irreversible illness which would rot his internal organs and eventually force him to be disposed of. Steve will be remembered as a National Hero and a small plaque marks his grave site. May he live forever in the world of science. The True Eggstronaut.

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