What were three scientific problems that the boys had to solve?

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In a small West Virginia town, four high school boys were inspired to build a rocket after watching Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, shoot across the sky in 1957. With only a book to guide them through the rocket-building process, they encountered a few scientific problems along the way.

When the first rocket made from a flashlight and bottle of rocket powder didn’t soar upwards as planned, the boys learned the hard way that the exterior of a rocket must be strong enough to withstand burning fuel, while the powder inside must create a chemical reaction to ignite the rocket. They solved two of their problems after replacing the flashlight with welded steel and the baking soda with zinc, sulphur, and moonshine, a combination they referred to as “rocket candy.” The boys were also unsure of how to increase rocket speed, a problem that required in-depth research regarding the shape of a rocket's nozzle. Using advanced physics, the boys determined how to maximize acceleration by...

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