GEMS / GISE Rocket Festival (5/19/2007)
The GEMS & GISE Rocket Festival was held this past Saturday
(May 19th) at Jordan Park Community School in Minneapolis.
The MASA launch crew volunteers were Carol Marple, Jeff,
Alyssa and McKenna Taylor, and Alan Estenson. The day's weather
turned out a lot nicer than forecasted. It was sunny with just a
very light breeze. It actually got pretty hot standing out there in
the sunshine all afternoon. Carol headed up the emergency launch lug
installation (more on that below), Jeff announced the flights,
Alyssa loaded the rockets on the pads, and Alan operated the launch
controller and watched the range safety. Other volunteers judged the
rockets and helped prep them to fly.
Some 300 or so enthusiastic 4th-8th graders were there to
fly their Estes Eggscalibers (with egg payload) on B6-2's. They had
a lot of fun!
The field was pretty small, but proved adequate for the
light breeze and low altitude flights. We started setting up the
launch range about noon. The first flights were at about 1:30 and
the last flights about 4:15. There were 70 or more flights. Many of
the flights were successful, but many suffered from separation or
BROC - Ballistic Recovery Omelet Creation.
When we saw the first Eggscaliber, we realized that the
launch lug standoff (so the rod would clear the egg capsule) had
been skipped, and the lug had been glued directly to the body tube.
(Someone decided that part of the instructions was optional?) We
quickly realized that they had nearly all been built that way. (Out
of 70 or so rockets, I only saw 4 that had the launch lug installed
on the standoff.) Without the standoff, the rockets would have
perched 2 feet up in the air with only
8 inches or so of the top of the rod to provide any guidance. Not
Some quick brainstorming broke out, cardboard, tape, tools,
and soda straws were scavenged. After trying several ideas, we ended
up stacking 7 small rectangles of cardboard and taping them together
to act as a standoff. Then, a piece of a straw was taped onto that
stack. When the rockets were brought up to be launched, Carol & crew
used clear packing
tape to tape that assembly onto the rocket. After the rockets flew,
the straw & cardboard rig was removed so that it could be reused. It
wasn't pretty, but it worked!