Wednesday, August 10, 2005

First Launch

When it came time to conduct my first rocket launch I knew just the place. Right now my church has a big open field behind it. I guess it's 200 feet wide and 600 feet long. The only problem is that the grass was really high so I needed to cut it down. I measured a piece of rope 50 feet long and tied one end to a bolt that I pounded into the center of my soon to be launch area.

I jumped on the church's little John Deer riding lawn mower, grabbed the other end of the string and started cutting the grass. Because the other end of the rope was anchored into the ground I was able to cut a perfect 100 foot circle. It actually looks like a crop circle. It took a few passes but I eventually got the grass down to lawn length. I also cut a 10 foot circle 125 feet away from the actual launch pad location to measure altitude and track the rockets.

Even though the circle was only 100 feet, the minimum for "A" series rocket motors, there was plenty of room to launch up to "C" motors if you adjusted your launch rod for wind. That first day we did about three launches with small motors. A couple of days later we launched about 30 rockets of all sizes and shapes.

We launched in the morning and it was really still outside. It was a perfect day for a launch. Parents of the kids who built rockets started showing up about 7:00am and that's when we got started. The first rocket was a test flight to gauge the wind. It almost came straight down. After that we began launching two at a time and every rocket flew and came down perfectly. It was great and all the kids really had an awesome time.


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