A Candy-Powered Rocket in Japan? Challenge Accepted!

Japanese candy maker UHA Mikakuto (UHA 味覚糖) put out a challenge to Japan's community of scientists and engineers: design and launch a hybrid rocket powered by candy.

The challenge was answered. Scientists and researchers from all over Japan participated in the Candy Rocket Project, embarking on a mission to launch a rocket.

UHA Mikakuto documented the results in a YouTube video:

In the video, spectators describe how the project captured their imagination, while the various academics and scientists from universities around Japan explained why launching a candy-powered rocket was such a formidable task.

On March 7, after two tests the team managed to launch a 10 kilogram, 1.8 meter rocket to an altitude of 248 meters.


Diagram of Candy Rocket engine. Image courtesy Mikakuto.

The rocket was powered by 20 Puccho soft candies. According to participating scientists who were interviewed on the Candy Rocket Contest website, the participating scientist figured out a process for quickly dissolving the Puccho candies into a combustible gas, which in turn powered the rocket. 

Here's a commercial for Puccho candy, featuring members of popular “idol” group AKB48:

Hat tip to Kevin Rothrock for suggesting this post.

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