Fortunately, it was not just the two of us - the leaders informed us that the U.S. Space and Rocket Center had provided someone to help with the rocket construction, which left us free to focus on the launching. We also found out that Tracy and Lee from Russellville were out at the launch area trying to assemble some launch gear. The rain had slacked off, so Woody and I moseyed over there, only to find our Russellville colleagues starting to assemble some Estes Porta Pads. I must confess that I fought down a smirk at the idea of launching over 200 scout rockets using single pads and individual launch controllers; it could be done, but it would be an unholy chaotic mess, and take much longer than the 3 hours or so we had in the launch window. Lee and Tracy were much relieved at the sight of the HARA launch equipment, and thanks to their help, we had the range set up in no time. Sometimes the presence of a well stocked rocket club is a wonderful thing!
|Akela 1's motor ignites (Click to enlarge).||The candy bowl saucer starts its journey (Click to enlarge).|
The selected clear area was small and surrounded by trees, but it was just big enough to accommodate the scouts' Estes Dinks on 1/2 A motors. Red barricade tape cordoned off the pad area, and we placed some more around the battery packs and cables to indicate a no walking zone. I launched my Akela 1 rocket on an A8-3; it reached about the same altitude we expected of the Dinks, and recovered comfortably within the field. Knowing I was going to be really busy very soon, I also launched the Target Halloween Bowl saucer on a C6-0. My colleagues were impressed by how straight the ungainly purple oddroc flew. After these flights, the range was declared operational around 8:50, and we settled in to await the first wave of Cub scouts, expected around 9:20.
But the rain came first...
|Waiting out the drizzle (Click to enlarge).|
|Loading the final rocket of the rack (Click to enlarge).|
|A full rack of Cub scout rockets (Click to enlarge).|
This video gives good idea of the pace of the launch
We were finished right about noon, and Lee and Tracy helped pack the very wet equipment back into Woody's SUV. I didn't take many pictures, because we were constantly occupied with pad duty, loading motors, and launching; there simply wasn't time. This launch was busy, even hectic at times, but it was good fun - the scouts thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and we put a bunch of rockets into the air. This is enough to satisfy any old rocketeer, even one a bit on the damp side.