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Last updated: July 30, 2004
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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 world.

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 seen!

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.

 [Ted Cochran]

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