Saturday morning, Oct. 24 with clear skies and low winds posed perfect weather conditions for a variety of outdoor enjoyment ahead of the winter storm that struck on Sunday evening. Capitalizing on the amicable weather, The Youth Club of Trinidad (TYC) held a model rocket launch Saturday morning at Central Park where students who had spent the last few weeks building rockets.
Under the careful instruction and supervision of life-long model rocketeer and TYC employee Brad Kirby, also known as Rocket Man to TYC members, club members spend several weeks constructing their rocket from balsa wood and cardboard tubes. There’s also an educational element to the effort.
“I make sure as we’re working through gluing on wings and painting to keep aerodynamics and weight in mind,” said Kirby. “It’s not quite as simple as slapping on wings and shoving in a parachute. There’s a lot of factors we walk through so they can have a successful launch.”
In addition to launching the rockets, Kirby said they also use an altimeter to see whose launch travels the furthest.
“We look at whose rocket flew the highest and dub them the winner for highest launch,” said Kirby.
This time, TYC member Mary Armijo’s rocket proved to climb the highest. With kids’ faces lighting up for every launch, following from lift-off to landing, just a chance to send something soaring into the atmosphere was winning in itself.
With NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission successfully landing a spacecraft on Bennu, a near-earth asteroid, to collect debris to bring back to earth for studying, there’s quite a bit of attention on space, along with the rocket industry.
“It hasn’t ever been too difficult to get kids to participate in this program,” said Kirby. “Lately we’ve had enough growing interest that we’ll be starting a Saturday morning rocket club soon. We’re always looking for more members.”
Once it begins, each month, members will gather at the club, socially-distanced, on Saturday mornings to build their model rockets with every fourth Saturday being a launch.
Over the past three years, Bar NI has helped to make the program possible with support from their Bar NI Community Grant. Kirby said he would continue to seek grants and funding to ensure the program continues for years to come.
To find out more about the Model Rocket Club program and other services of TYC, give them a call at 719-422-8090.