Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rocket Day

Spent yesterday afternoon with a bunch of homeschooled kids (including my own) launching model rockets at a local park.  The sun was out and it was surprisingly warm for the equinox day in late September.  I'm very fortunate to have the kind of job where I can slip out for 3 hours and play (of course I also have the type of job where I'm on the computer working 10 pm on a Sunday night).

Here's my rocket (I built one too) on my homemade launch pad (a piece of aluminum screwed to a pressure-treated wood base with a rod stuck into it) ready to go.  The other pic is me hooking up one of the kid's rockets.  I didn't include pictures of the kids since most of them weren't mine.

Here's my launch controller.  I'm proud of this since I built it myself from scratch (simple circuit inside, it's only job is to connect a 9V battery to those black and red lugs).  The blue pushbutton turns it on and off.  When it's on, a blue LED lights.  The key switch arms it and turns on the red LED (when I'm setting up the rocket I have the key so no one can shoot a rocket off into my face!).  The red momentary pushbutton connects the battery to the lugs.  The current flows through two wires to the rocket igniter in the engine.

So, from a safe distance, the kids can arm the system, we have a countdown, and then whoosh!

We have liftoff.  Rockets are fun, but they can be educational as well.

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