Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3, 2, 1 Blastoff!

I know, I need a new hobby activity like a hole in the head, right? So why not model rockets?

Last Saturday, my wife and I dropped the kids off at my parents so we could take a trip to Ikea to pick up some furniture she wanted. I parleyed that into a stop at the FLHS, where I saw my esteemed gaming opponent, picked up a few miscellaneous items, and bought an Estes model rocket starter kit.

Wait, what?

Yes, it's true. I've been thinking about it for a few weeks since our trip to the Huntsville rocket center so I could show the girls what a rocket does. Plus I used to do these quite a bit as a kid, so it wasn't a complete shot in the dark, so to speak.

So Sunday I put together the first rocket along with the launch pad and surprised the girls. Their first question was "Will it fly to the moon?" Well, not quite. But the FLHS did have that 1/100 scale flyable Saturn V...

Anyway, for those interested, this is a nice set from Estes. It comes with the rocket seen here, which required some minimal assembly and sticker adhesion - no painting, no gluing on of balsa fins, etc. It also includes the launch pad and ignition controller. Just add engines and batteries and you're good to go. Pretty good bargain, actually.

We managed two launches. The first I put in only three squares of wadding (the instructions recommended 3-4), and the parachute must have gotten too hot and spot melted in a couple spots and didn't fully open. I gently pulled it apart, repacked it, put in five squares of wadding for launch 2, and everything went perfectly. I'm sure we'll do it again!

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