An experimental rocket blew up in a parking lot on the University of Idaho campus Thursday night. Four students were injured in the blast. KREM reports that all four are currently recovering from surgery in the hospital, awake and communicative.
“We were testing a new fuel design for the rocket engine and we didn’t have reason to believe it would blow up or anything because it was a slow-burning fuel. But as soon as it was lit, it blew up,” said Grant Thurman, one of the students at the scene.
The injured victims are part of the Northwest Organization of Rocket Engineers, a club made of teachers and students who create and test rockets. The male who lit the fuel was reportedly wearing a face shield while onlookers wore eye protection.
Even though the fuel was slow-burning and supposedly safe, it shows that there is always the danger for severe burns and other mishaps. While the danger is minimized in experiments, it still cannot be completely eliminated because of the nature of rocket fuel. We are very thankful that the students’ injuries were not extreme and that they are recovering well.
Remember to always be safe when working with dangerous chemicals and other fire hazards.