Local students take off
- Written by Andrea Waguespack
The sky is the limit for Kingwood-area teens. Local teens participated in two rocket-launching events on Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, which was aimed to have students become more interested in math and science, and to promote leadership and teamwork. On Oct. 23, the Kingwood-based Marauder Composite Squadron hosted the fifth annual Civil Air Patrol October Sky rocket launch event. More than 130 residents attended the free event. “The noise and blast during the launch phase is quite thrilling,” said First Lieutenant Steve Taylor, Aerospace Education Officer for the Marauder Composite Squadron. The October Sky rocket launch was inspired by the novel and film “October Sky,” which depicts the true story of Homer Hicks. As a teenager, Hicks was inspired by the Sputnik launch to build homemade rockets. His love of rockets led Hicks to a career as a NASA scientist. Rockets ranged in size from 1 to 6-feet and reached heights of 2,000 feet. Due to the altitude of the rockets, CAP had to coordinate with the Air Traffic Control Center. Many of the rockets were scale models of military missiles, including the AIM-9 Sidewinder. CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is comprised of 12 to 18-year-olds and adult volunteers. Based on a military model, CAP teaches leadership, self-discipline and community service. In step with their leadership mission, the cadets were responsible for organizing and managing the rocket launch event. “We ask cadets to take charge, so they can get the feel of leadership,” said Cadet Senior Master Sergeant Christopher Williams, a freshman at Kingwood Park High School. “Each cadet has a mission, from the parking detail to the master of ceremonies. Most importantly, each cadet is accountable. If something goes wrong, we want them to fix it.” Earlier in the week, Kingwood High School students enrolled in the aeroScience and chemistry honors classes launched Generation 2 rockets the morning of Oct. 20 at KHS’s practice football field. “They had a blast,” said Louis Mascolo, KHS aeroScience and chemistry honors teacher. “They had fun applying their knowledge, to see all of their work go up and come back down successfully so they could fly them another day.” The rockets, whose length averaged 18 inches, soared approximately 1,200 to 1,600 feet into the air. To learn teamwork, students worked in pairs to design and build the 14 rockets that were launched. “This is a learning experience to learn the physics of flight,” said Mascolo. “That’s the fun part: they get to figure it out all on their own.” For more information about the local Civil Air Patrol, visit www.TX409.com. Visit www.igniteeducation.org for more information about Ignite Education. Photo: Cadets Matt Horton and Brandon Johnson prepare to launch a scale model of a AIM-7 Sparrow missile at the Civil Air Patrol October Sky rocket launch event Oct. 23.