From My Office Window: Rocket Launch

A Starbase Robins rocket launch in the ampitheater in front of the Century of Flight Hangar.
A Starbase Robins rocket launch in the ampitheater in front of the Century of Flight Hangar. The rockets are the orange blurs at the top of the smoke trails.

A Starbase Robins rocket launch. It’s one of my favorite happenings at the museum. My office is on the third floor of the Eagle Building and I’m fortunate to have a window that gives me a great view of the amphitheater where Starbase Robins does the rocket launches.

Three times last week I was working and heard the countdown from dozens of young voices in unison: “Five. Four. Three. Two. One.” Then the fwoosh of the rocket motors and the cheers of delight from the kids. I couldn’t help but smile and go look out the window. It’s always a delightful scene. Children look to the sky and some hop with excitement. The thin smoke trails drift away while the rockets float back to earth suspended under their parachutes. The kids who launched the rockets run to where they think the rockets will land. After retrieving their rockets, the kids trot triumphantly back to the amphitheater. I love it.

IMG_4714
Students retrieve their rocket. The white lines in the image are a reflection on the window of the photographer’s shirt.

Some rockets land on top of museum buildings and blow off hours or days later. I like to walk around the museum grounds and when I find one of the rockets, I’ll drop it off at the Starbase Robins office. Some of the rockets land in trees and when the leaves fall off as winter approaches, you can see the rockets hanging there. One time, as I was looking out my office window, I was startled by a rocket floating down just inches from the window. A group of kids waiting below scooped it up as soon as it hit the ground.

This rocket landed high in a tree.
This rocket landed high in a tree. It may be blown down in a few hours or days or stay in the tree for months.

Fifth graders from schools throughout Middle Georgia come to the museum one day a week for five weeks and participate in hands-on science and math lessons that include building rockets. The rocket launch is a sort of graduation event. I didn’t launch a rocket until I was in my late 30s so I’m thrilled that these students have this opportunity while they are young. It is an exciting and inspiring activity that they will remember for a long time. Another group of fifth graders starts today.

Here’s a video highlight of a Starbase Robins rocket launch on the museum’s YouTube channel:

Mike Rowland, Curator

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