Girl Scout Jamboree (7/17/2004)
We had a great time at the Jamboree yesterday and today. About
2000 girls, mostly high school-aged, are attending from all over the
They got to choose which activities to participate in each of two
daily sessions. Rocketry wasn't as popular an activity as tubing on
the Cannon River, but it was right up there (then again, the tubing
was canceled due to high water and the rockets got launched, and
launched, and launched -)
The Jamboree is being held at St. Olaf college in Northfield.
Yesterday, we built Generic E2X rockets in two separate two-hour
sessions. About 42 rockets ended up being built, including those
built by adults (The adults accompanying the girls got to do some of
the activities too!). These kids had the rockets pretty much ready
to fly in about 40 minutes, but then spent up to an hour decorating
the rockets, creating some of the most beautiful E2Xs I've ever
In between the building sessions, we had a free lunch and some
time to survey the launch site.
Today we started setting up at 1230 for the 200 launch. We had 12
pads in two rows of six, one behind the other (we were set up on a
sort of dike at one end of a complex of several soccer, softball,
and baseball fields). We used a torture rack procedure, but we were
only expecting about 35 kids [some had to miss the launch -( ], and
figured the wait would be short. It worked fairly well.
Once the kids arrived, we showed them how to prep their rockets,
and each girl started off launching on A8-3 motors. After everyone
had done that, we let them launch as much as they wanted to on A, B,
or C motors. I did launch a demo E2X on a C6-5 just to show them
what kind of drift to expect if they picked the biggest motor.
Indeed, it did drift a looooonnnnngggg way, but the decision was
left up to them.
Many decided to just launch once, but several went crazy, and
some of them launched on C6 motors repeatedly. The record was set by
one girl who launched 8(!) times. Overall, the girls launched about
70 rockets in the two hour session, and we added about 14 more as
demos, including boost gliders, helicopters, scale models, UFOs, Odd
Rocs, and drag races. Very few rockets were lost--one landed on a
field house roof but was recovered by college staff. Mike rescued
one from a tree with a pole, and I think one or two others might
have floated away, as well.
There were relatively few misfires (except for 3 on the first
rack, which served to highlight the importance of careful
igniter installation), just a few separations, and one or two of the
unique E2X separations (the body tube separates at the fin can).
Besides the demo E2X, I launched a Skywinder, the Orbital
Transport, the Shuttle Columbia, a UFO, a Big Daddy (on an E15-7),
Silver Comet (flight #43), and the Kosrox Mars Lander, which was the
only casualty of the day--the knot at the snap swivel broke, and the
body fell sideways, breaking two legs. The 24" Estes parachute
made like a hang glider (I kid you not--it was deployed in a flat
triangular shape, and glided instead of tumbling or even wafting in
the breeze). The body wasn't damaged, so the rocket will fly again.
The kids and adults left with a lot of great memories. There
aren't many outreach opportunities where you get the chance to work
with kids who all want to be there (remember, they chose rocketry
over dozens of alternatives), and have enough time to make sure they
get all the flying in that they want to do. It wouldn't surprise me
if we saw some of the local kids again at a MASA launch.
Huge thanks to Glen for setting this up for us (starting over a
year ago!!, and to Mike Erpelding, Mark Thell, and Seth Cochran for
helping make it a success.