Texas Hills Holds First Annual Rocket Launch Recruitment

by Darlene Karthauser, November 23, 2014

District Executive, Andrew Chapline, and his dad, Mike, hosted the First Annual Rocket Launch and Astronomy Recruitment Day on Sunday, November 23, at 4:30pm-6:30pm, at the Tivy High School Soccer fields in Kerrville.

The day was perfect for a rocket launch. The sky was clear blue. The wind blowing gently from the southeast.  Mike Chapline, a long time model rocket afficionado, brought a few of his high powered rockets for demonstration purposes. One of his rockets boasted almost as many years as Mike's son, Andrew! 

Ken Lamb contributed about 24 rocket kits and sufficient engines to launch the smaller model rockets.  There were 12 Estes UP Aerospace Spaceloft and 12 Estes Generic E2X model rockets.  One of the district committee members put together the rockets so they were ready to launch.

As families arrived with their children, Mike and Andrew set up a mini-tutorial for the safe launch of the rockets. Darlene Karthauser checked the families in.  Each child in the family was given a rocket to launch.  If their rocket "survived" the launch, they were able to re-pack the streamer and insert a new engine with the help of their parents and get in the cue for the launchpad. The onlookers helped the young launch controller to count down to lift off.  5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 Blast off!  The rockets soared into the air with the unmistakeable whistle of the model rocket in flight. All necks craned upward searching for the bright orange streamers to deploy and bring the rocket safely to the ground.  For every 4 or 5 small rocket launch, Mike would send another of his larger rockets into the air. 

As the sun began to set and the stars began to twinkle, Mike and Andrew directed the waiting future rocketeers to look at the sliver of moon and some of the stars through telescopes provided by Ken Lamb at Bear Creek Scout Reservation before packing up and heading home.

The delight and wonder on everyone's faces as the rockets launched was priceless.  The launch was a success as contact information from families interested in the Scout program was gathered.

Look forward to similar Rocket Days! to be held in Bandera and Castroville in the near future.