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West High School Rocket Launch
Space Summer Kick Off at Salt Lake Library System
By Douglas D Hillson
Posted on 6/3/2019 4:51 PM

So I believe the launch generally went well. The kids and parents were generally impressed by all the rocket flights and we spoke to a number of individuals at our booth. We flew two rounds of flights. In each I flew a standard rocket with a parachute recovery, a boost glider, a helicopter, a two-stage rocket, and Robert's saucer. During the first launch I also demonstrated a static test stand launch and had real time thrust data plotted on a laptop. We got a lot more mobbed at our booth than I was expecting, but I think we were able to demonstrate to a number of people that rockets is far more encompassing than just Alpha 3's.

The flag line I had instructed staff to setup worked well and I was able to keep the crowd crosswind (west-east) and keep up and downwind of the range relatively clear. We got a lot of positive feedback from Melinda, so I think she appreciated the flights.

There were some things that didn't go smoothly. The main issue is the PA system they had setup and told us we could use, just didn't work for the launch as you couldn't hear the PA from the launch range even though it was relatively close. I had been told the PA system would be adequate for the launch but that turned out not to be the case. I yelled as best as I could and I'm not sure how many people could actually hear me. 

As a result of the PA not working we had some trouble recovering rockets. There were supposed to be staff members assisting in recovery but they were very outnumbered by the crowd. A few people evidently thought that this launch was like the T-shirt gun at a basketball game and if a rocket landed near them they got to take the rocket home. Fortunately we had enough staff assist to track down rockets and bring them back. Given the size of the crowd and space of the field this turned out okay. I also got back one of my gliders with some suspicious looking damage that didn't seem consistent with just a bad landing. (Everything I flew I was prepared to lose, although I think in the future I should basically expect to lose it.)

The other main issue to point out is we didn't have fliers (as in handouts) to give to people. Due to the short notice, I don't blame any of us for this but I did want to let you know it came up. Given the number of kids at this event, we probably wouldn't have wanted to just leave fliers out on the table for anyone to grab, but when individuals asked for them ideally we would have had some available.

View SLC County Library Summer of Space Photos