Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cub scout launch...

Scouts prep their rockets for launch (Click to enlarge).
Every year, a former president of my rocket club, Chuck Pierce, hosts a launch for some local cub scouts. I love helping him with these events - the scouts are a fine organization, and deserve our support whenever possible. The launch was held today, and unlike other activities this year, I was actually in town to assist - even if it did mean leaving the apartment at an unnatural 7:15 AM on a Saturday morning. Two packs of cubs - Packs 351 and 83 - were expected to be in attendance, so I anticipated a fair number of rockets taking to the sky.

Chuck sends an Estes Crossbow on its way (Click to enlarge).
Chuck and I arrived at the Space Camp launch field around 7:25, and were almost immediately joined by Woody Bevill, who showed up all cool like on his big motorcycle. The three of us had the range set up in just under thirty minutes - 4 racks, with 3 pads per rack, all tied into the trusty HARA launch controller. The Space Camp field is way too small for rocket flying, as evidenced by the bazillion rockets decorating the surrounding trees (Woody said it looked liked the they were stricken with a plague); however, the wind was light and I figured we wouldn't loose too many, as long as the kids stuck with A and B impulse motors. It turns out that we did have to tilt the pads a bit more to the north after loosing a couple in the first set of launches. This helped significantly, though there was one RV in the camper park south of the field that seemed to be ground zero for the day - at least two rockets landed on its roof.

Woody launches a "white and green rocket" - actually an Estes L.G.M.
(Click to enlarge).
The cubs were ready to fly around 8:15 AM, and we put up rack after rack of rockets; I estimated 7 sets of 12, or around 80ish. This was done in just over 90 minutes, which means rockets took to the air at the impressive average rate of one per minute - Chuck and Woody are no slouches when it comes to handling the LCO (Launch Control Officer) duty. We all helped the scouts get their rockets ready on the pads, and I hung back and took pictures while Chuck and Woody pressed the Fire button. As far as the rocket flying, it was pretty much as expected - lots of good flights, a few (3?) in the trees, one coming in ballistic for a core sample, and the occasional rocket malfunction (fin coming loose, parachute tangling or stuck in body tube). A goodly amount of fun was had by all, which is the most important part of rocketry. However, I do think my colleagues need a lesson in model rocket kit identification - "little red rocket", while descriptive, is not very distinctive. To be fair, this talent is not normally needed, as the LCOs at our club launches have a flight card for each model on the pad, which has the rocket name, flyer, motor, etc. At last year's scout launch, there were a lot of Alpha III's present; there were also some this year, though the Estes snap together Dragonite was equally popular.

Activity around the pads (Click to enlarge).
We broke down and stowed the equipment in short order. Chuck and I were eating a quick late breakfast at Shaggy's by 10:15, and I was back at the apartment 30 minutes after that. Rockets and food make for a very good start to a Saturday.

An Estes Crossfire leaves the pad on a B motor - note the
3 Dragonites on the rack to the right (Click to enlarge).
An Alpha heads into the blue (Click to enlarge).
Two rockets under parachute (Click to enlarge).
An Estes Red Rider misses the trees (Click to enlarge).
Estes Power Patrol descends to Earth (Click to enlarge).

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