Young Rockies Build and Fly Rockets


The Union Township Public Library, in conjunction with Ripley Ohio Association of Rocketry (ROAR) NAR Chapter #851, hosted a “Build and Fly” Sports Rocket Day on Saturday, May 21.

The program introduced seven children to the challenge and fun of building and flying Quest-Aerotech “Astra III” model rockets on the same day! The library and ROAR provided the rockets, engines and building materials free of charge and just before launch time served Giovanni’s Pizza. The rockets built by the children would be theirs to keep and fly again and again.

ROAR Senior Advisor Tom Zachman gave a PowerPoint presentation introducing young participants and their parents and guardians to the excellent safety record, educational benefits and just plain fun of scale models and sport rockets. Jane Zachman, a talented educator and gifted rocket scientist, helped with the building portion of the program.

Once everyone has built, decorated and ready to fly their rockets, it’s off to the lower sports grounds at Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington High School to set up their rockets for the first flights using engines of Estes A8-3 solid rockets.

ROAR rocketeer and esteemed photographer Walt Orlowsky helped the students to the playground and took several photos and film to document the event.

Ripley rockets flew from the launch pads in rapid succession. Children and spectators were amazed and delighted. Each child stood behind the launch control table and after a five-second countdown, they pressed the red launch button to send their firebirds skyward. Of course there were fun competitions and for the first competition Mariah Brossart won a cash prize for landing her rocket closest to the pad.

Then, choosing to double the power of the rocket engines, the children placed Estes B6-4 engines in their “Astra III” rockets and sent them skyward at an altitude of approximately 450 to 600 feet high. More than twice the altitude of Estes A8-3 flights. All rockets have been salvaged and prepared for the upcoming rocket drag races. The first drag race was ready to go! To everyone’s delight, in the blink of an eye, multiple rockets arched across the blue sky and rushed to their highest point of flight or apogee. Eliese Doyle was declared the winner and happily claimed her prize. Then it was the second flight. The launch button was pressed and Gage Carter was the hands down winner.

After a warm but fun afternoon, students wishing to compete in the “best decorated” rocket left their flight cards and rockets at the public library for library director Alison Gibson to judge. All the rockets were colorfully designed and Eliese Doyle was declared the best rocket designer. Absolutely a fun time was had by everyone.

If any resident of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky would like to learn more about the fantastic hobby of model building and sport rocketry, contact ROAR Senior Advisor Tom Zachman at [email protected] or visit Facebook of the Ripley Ohio Association of Rocketry for more information. The Model and Sport Rocket is a great introduction to STEM learning and applications. See the NAR website at for more information.

As a side note for high school students ages 14-17 and adults, the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) offers certification options to fly high-powered rockets (HPRs) that are much taller and faster than model rockets. rockets to the local, regional and national NAR. events.

Union Township Public Library generously provided facilities, art supplies and public announcements for the event.


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