Kent Scouts Rocket Team - Pyromania at it's best!
What on earth are rockets?
Rockets: the art of propelling things into the sky rather quickly and amusingly, and preferably with smoke, flames and wooshes.
Specifically, and just to put your mind at rest, these are model rockets that we're talking about. Most are around 30cm tall, although they can be somewhat larger!
There's lots of different types of model rockets. Primarily, we're interested in two...
Water rockets use air pressure to propel water out of a bottle. Water jet points down; rocket goes up. Simple, cheap, fun, safe - a great introduction to rockets, especially for younger ages.
Solid fuel rockets use something akin to explosives to do the same thing. Exhaust gases eject downwards; rocket goes upwards in a big cloud of smoke and flame. Prefix it with a dramatic countdown and press of a big red button to ignite; and follow the launch with the throughly entertaining jaunt of rescuing your rocket as it drifts down from the heavens under a parachute. Often, it ends up in the next field. These things fly high; 500 feet is easy. They get really exciting when you add booster stages and multiple motors.
How we deliver as an Scouts activity
Beavers and Cubs
Typically a two-hour session. Quick briefing about rockets. Spend an hour absolutely hands-on with the water rockets; flying 10 at once in teams of 4 youngsters means we can entertain large groups at once. Then see some demonstration flights of solid fuel powered rockets; the lucky few will get to launch, but everyone gets to count down and run after the rockets to recover them when they land.
Scouts and Explorers
Short session: as above, but more hands-on on the preparation of the solid fuel rockets for flight. Repacking parachutes, arming the ignitors, preparing the launch control and firing. Make some quick-n-dirty "chip cup" rockets and launch your own creations!
Long session: assemble the solid-fuel rockets from kits in the first place. Then fly as above. Assembly takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours depending on how complex you like your kit; then a couple of hours in the field.
How we're going to get bigger, better, louder and higher
Some areas for future development:
Better ignition - Neale's creating a "launch box" to replace the cheap-n-tacky launch controllers we use today
Multi-stage rockets - add booster stages, so one stage gets up to 500 feet and then ignites the next stage, which goes up to 1000 feet...
Multi-engine rockets - burn multiple motors all at once for extra power!
Design our own rockets - stop building from kits; start designing ourselves! Currently designing some components for 3D printing...
High-power rocket motors - our current motors are limited in size and are one-use-only. Bigger motors are repackable - insert your own propellant; get some serious power going on. Probably need an explosives license by this point; need to look into it further.
Electronics - launch a video camera? Measure your acceleration and altitude? Computer-control the parachute deployment?
Fancy getting involved?
Of course you do :-) In the first instance, sign up to this page as an attendee to express your interest, and we'll go from there.
Just like the power kite team - we'll run "tuition" events (of which we've already done three, with another in the diary) and "team" events where we'll try out the more insane stuff together.
Watch this space for more details!