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Model rocket enthusiasts share expertise with youth

By: KRISTINA IODICE
December 3, 2011
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photo - Samantha Bernard, 10, checks on the engine chamber she assembled for her model rocket at a class Saturday at Fire Station No. 20 offered by COSROCS, or Colorado Springs Rocket Society. Photo by KRISTINA IODICE/The Gazette
Samantha Bernard, 10, checks on the engine chamber she assembled for her model rocket at a class Saturday at Fire Station No. 20 offered by COSROCS, or Colorado Springs Rocket Society. Photo by KRISTINA IODICE/The Gazette 

Model rocketry isn’t just about watching rockets blast off. It’s also about motors, fuel, Newton seconds, gravity, even Sputnik.

Despite the cold and icy weather Saturday, a handful of kids got a basic course in science, safety and history at one of COSROCS regular youth model rocketry classes.

“You’re basically playing with fire, but you’re doing so constructively,” said Dave Virga, president of COSROCS, or Colorado Springs Rocket Society.

The club handles a mix of launches and other activities throughout the year, including the classes held once a month at Fire Station No. 20.

“It's a good opportunity for them to learn,” said Patrick Bernard, who brought his two daughters to the class. “It makes math interesting, and it makes physics interesting.”

It was the first time working on a rocket, but not the first time building something for Abby Bernard, 12, who attends The HillSprings Learning Center and Holmes Middle School in Colorado Springs School District 11.

“I like working with my hands,” she said, adding that’s she put time into robots and her father’s dwarf race car.

Casey Everett, 13, said the best part of model rocketry was the options.

“Whatever you do affects its flight,” he said.

The eighth-grader at Patriot Learning Center in Falcon School District 49 is in his first year participating in Team America Rocketry Challenge, a nationwide model rocket competition. It is fun working on rockets with friends, he said.

COSROCS started in 1989 and has been building and launching rockets ever since. Many regular launches are open to the public.

The youth rocketry classes and other COSROCS public events are usually free. Volunteers have taught Scout troops and church groups, Virga said, and work with several schools.

“Basically anybody who wants to pursue rocketry,” he said, adding that rocketry is mostly off the radar as hobbies go. However, those who get into it can work with rockets shorter than 12 inches to 30-foot-tall rockets that can fly at Mach 2 — twice the speed of sound.

“It’s not just to promote the educational aspects, but to get kids interested in rocketry and then interested in scientific careers,” Virga said.

Samantha Bernard, 10,  said her favorite part of the building session was assembling the chamber for the rocket motor.

It was the first time the Trailblazer Elementary student had worked on a rocket, and she spent the class time sanding rocket fins and cutting them out of thin wood. She didn’t know whether or not she would do it again.

“I’ll decide that after the launch,” she said.

CLASS DETAILS

COSROCS launches are listed on the website at www.cosrocs.org, under “Rocktivities.”

The next youth model rocketry class is  Jan. 7at Fire Station No. 20, 6755 Rangewood Dr. Class for beginners, ages 8-13 with little to no experience, is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those ages 13-18 with some experience and skills are slated for 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Those 13 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Students are expected to have their own kits, tools and supplies. To register or for more details, visit the website or contact Les and Deanna Mann at L_D4HRocketry@q.com.


Contact Kristina Iodice: 636-0162 Twitter @GazetteKristina Facebook Kristina Iodice

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