This past weekend I was in Houston for the National Association of Rocketry's annual convention, NARCON. It's a two day affair, filled with talks, vendor exhibits, and over a hundred rocket geeks - the perfect venue for an old geezer rocketeer like me to hang out and take in this sport we call rocketry. James Duffy and the Texas sections (rocket clubs) hosting the event did an outstanding job organizing and running things, and I can safely say that everyone present thoroughly enjoyed themselves. NARCONs are held in cities that sport some sort of space-related attraction, and this year's convention was held at the Hilton across the street from Johnson Space Center and just down the road from Space Center Houston. This presented mucho opportunity for the participants to experience some space program history, and many did. Who can pass up a chance to see one of the majestic Saturn V's or to climb into the Shuttle carrier aircraft and into a mock Shuttle cockpit?
|James Duffy gives tips on how to build a scale Little Joe from scratch (Click to enlarge).|
1) Joe Barnard of BPS.space thrilled the audience with how he developed his thrust vector stability kits for finless model rockets. It was kinda like watching the old Wild World of Sports - there was the idea, the agony of defeat (over and over) in the beginning, then finally the thrill of victory. Joe's stuff ain't safety code legal, but it is cool as the dickens and the audience was incredibly stoked by his presentation. Check out his website for some neat video and details.
|Waiting for John Beans' talk to begin (Click to enlarge).|
|Folks start to gather for Gary Rosenfeld's "History of High Power Rocketry" talk (Click to enlarge).|
|Part of the vendor room (Click to enlarge).|
The traditional banquet was held on Saturday night, with the speaker being astronaut Scott Parazynski, veteran of 5 Space Shuttle missions with 47 hours spent outside on EVAs. He recounted his experiences of orbiting Earth, and of climbing Mt. Everest (twice - he succeeded on the 2nd attempt). It was a fascinating presentation, and each of us was lucky enough to receive a free copy of his book "The Sky Below"; Scott kindly took the time to autograph the books people brought to him - a true gentlemen.
Sunday morning I packed my things and headed off to the airport - it had been a very good NARCON. Good talks, cool rocket stuff to buy and poke at, and lots of people to talk to. The latter is perhaps the best aspect of NARCON; it gives us a chance to link up with old friends from distant parts of the country and to meet new entrants in the hobby, filled with enthusiasm and excitement. A hobby for just one is not very exciting, and I was reminded that there is more to rocketry than TARC launches at Pegasus field. I came back with new goals and with new energy.
|My signed 1970 Estes catalog (click to enlarge).|