Rocket launch should be a blast
April 25, 2012 4:32PM
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:46AM
This weekend will be the last chance until fall to attend an event that is, literally, a blast. Michigan Team-1, a model rocketry club, will hold its spring launch weekend in Three Oaks, Mich., starting in the afternoon Friday, April 27, and continuing throughout the day on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29.
Team-1 makes the claim of being Michigan’s oldest and largest model rocketry club. The club typically holds launches at a site near Ann Arbor, but makes the trek to Three Oaks, near New Buffalo, each spring and fall for their “major” launches, as this field can accommodate more powerful and higher flying rockets.
Michigan Team-1 is one of two model rocket clubs that uses the Three Oaks field for launches. Both groups enjoy demonstrating their hobby to the public, and welcome spectators and those that might be interested in learning more about model rocketry. And both clubs allow youth to launch rockets free of charge.
The other club using this field is Michiana Rocketry, www.michianarocketry.org, which uses this field for monthly launches beginning in the fall after the crops are out and through spring planting time. They held a launch last weekend. Michiana also has a “Rocket Den” with rockets and components that are free for youth to use at the launch site.
“It seems that everybody at some point in time, like in a school science class or in scouts, is exposed to small model rockets. The launch days have lots flights of those types of rockets interspersed with some bigger rockets,” said Dave Brunsting, prefect of Michiana Rocketry.
The model rockets are designed to remain intact and be recovered and reused. Some even have high-tech components to help locate them after they parachute back to the ground, which is especially helpful in windy conditions.
Brunsting said that one of the bigger rockets expected at their last launch would be about 11 feet tall, have multiple motors and fly up to about 10,000 feet.
“That would be an impressive flight — assuming it works — rocket science is not always easy,” said Brunsting, laughing.
To see the upcoming weekend’s launches in person, Brunsting recommends bringing your own lawn chair and whatever you need to survive in a field for the day, such as water, sunscreen and snacks or a lunch, and dressing for the weather. There is a portable toilet on site, and there is likely to be a chili vendor in addition to rocket supply vendors.
To get to the field, take Interstate 94 east to Michigan exit 4A. About two miles past the stoplight in Three Oaks, turn right onto Avery Road and follow the gravel road south.
For more details on the upcoming launch, including a map to the site, go to www.team1.org and click on launch info for Three Oaks.