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Westerham - Rockets

Rockets - What a day

Having worked with the Kent Scouts Rocketry Team before, the opportunity of a large field fenced off from the public and Scouts already excited about Firework night was too good to miss, I contacted the team and invited them to spend the day with us.

There were a number of options and activities available, choosing their Gold package with gave an hour of Water rockets, followed by building and launching their own rockets meant that all of the Scouts would be kept busy for the entire time.  The opportunity was taken at this point to include both the Cubs and the Scouts, supported by a number of Dads who would enjoy the rocketry event.

Phase one – Water Rockets

The day dawned overcast with occasional spots of rain, however not to be deterred we waited for the junior football teams to vacate their fields then set up a line of water rockets and foot pumps.  Working in teams of three, they each chose a bottle (different sizes available) then were given different choices for the launch angles and amount of water to use as propellant, after that, once the range was clear of dog walkers and footballers alike, pumping began at a furious pace.
This continued as each group investigated the boundaries of too little water (rocket just about moves off the launch pad) or too much water (rocket falls off launch pad, then shows the launch team with water, or the angle of the trajectory, as the red mallet showing the further launch was gradually moved further away.  Step forward at this time, the winning team of Harvey, Thomas and James, used a coke bottle and slightly bent fins in their rocket, to launch their bottle, spinning for the length of a football field before burying itself in the hedge at the far end.

Phase two - Rocket Building

Having split into 5 tables, the each group were given a cardboard tube (rocket body), Paperclips, Balsa wood, plastic nose cone, string, a length of plastic tape and a drinking straw in order to create the rocket.  They were then expertly taken through the process of assembling these pieces, fuelled themselves with Hot dogs and squash in order to create a rocket capable of being launched to 600ft, then recovering it to use again.

Phase three – Launching

We all traipsed outside again, taking note of the weather to ensure a safe and steady rocket firing platform, after pictures were taken, the countdowns began, moving from 10 to 0 and in a puff of smoke and a whoosh, the first Rocket left the launchpad, followed seconds later as it ejected the streamer in order to slow the descent to the point that the rocket could be refuelled and sent back up again.

The final rockets of the day utilised a ‘B’ motor, twice as powerful as the ‘A’ motors used previously to send the rockets even higher.  This brought an end to the active part of the day, the Cubs departing for home while the Scouts returned to the hut for hot chocolate and biscuits while they completed research tasks and theory to complete their Scouts Astronautics badge.

All of the Cubs and Scouts enjoyed the day (as did the adults) with a personal highlight being an overheard comment from a Cub to his mum during the fireworks later that day… "Our Rockets went higher than that!".


ASL 17th Sevenoaks (Westerham)

Saturday 8th November 2014

Last updated by Stuart