Silver Streak Snaps Fin on Maiden Flight


BELVIDERE, IL – The first flight of the Silver Streaker was memorable, but not the way the Space Program in Training had hoped.

By noon, the wind had died down and the sun was breaking through the clouds.  Bob and Daniel checked the launch site at the cul-de-sac and agreed the weather was good enough to launch.

“We brought all our rockets,” said Daniel, “but we forgot to bring the igniters.”  Luckily, the two rockets prepped earlier in the week already had igniters attached.  Daniel set up the rocket and Bob checked out their new 12 volt launch system.

“It hooks to a car battery,” said Bob.  “We’re hoping it is more reliable in cold weather than the controller with 4 AA batteries.”  On Wednesday, the Space Program in Training had hoped to launch using the battery in their truck.  However, a plastic cover over the battery prevented them from attaching the leads from the controller.  This afternoon they had a separate 12 volt battery in the trunk, specific for rocket launches.

Bob started the onboard video camera.  This was the first test of a “gum camera”, a small thin camera that could be attached to the side of a rocket with rubber bands.  Daniel counted it down and despite its size, the Silver Streaker leaped off the launch pad.  However, it didn’t take long to realize something had gone wrong.  Both Bob and Daniel could see the parachute hadn’t deployed as it fell nose first into a nearby gully, about 20 yards east of the launch site.  Daniel found the rocket and reported one of the fins was missing a piece.

“It’s like the Hi-Jinks,” said Daniel.  Last year, the Hi-Jinks cracked one of its fins and it was possible to repair it.  Bob confirmed it was a clean break and plans on fixing it soon.  He checked the video camera and unfortunately it did not record the flight.

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