When I was little I wanted to be a astronaut. Later, I abandoned that dream and ended up launching model rockets instead of becoming an astronaut. I was around nine years old when I got my first rocket.

My first two rockets.

It was about a foot high and easy to make, my dad helped too. On my first launch ever, when the rocket backfired, the top flew off and luckily we were able to recover it.  It was always fun to launch a model rocket, especially because we weren’t able to do it very often.

Most times, assemblies were long and the launches didn’t always go as planned.  One time, it took off and backfired as it hit a fence, the whole front of the rocket was completely crumpled up.  We were able to fix it and it was able to be launched again.  Another time, I launched a rocket with the recovery wadding glued inside the rocket.  When the rocket backfired, the bottom of the rocket was shot off the rocket.  One time, when the launch did go as planned, the rocket went incredibly high and the paracute deployed successfully.  We didn’t know where it went until it was literally right over my dad’s head.

Last night,  I pulled out the box of old rockets.  Today I am planning on firing one very soon…..

The launch, August 22, 2011, Geyserville, CA, USA.

First rocket after flight
Second rocket in flight

When we got to the launch site (a dirt field), we set up the launch platform and prepared the first rocket for launch.  The first few attempts for lift off failed, I do not know what went wrong.  When I was about to approach the rocket to fix it, the rocket shot off, surprising everyone!  The rocket kept going up and up and up until finally it backfired and the top popped off.  As it fell back to earth, the parachute did not unravel to deploy and it took a hard landing to the road.  Luckily, it did not get run over by a car. It was a suspenseful landing for me as I was waiting and hoping that the parachute would deploy before impact.  All the insides of the rocket were completely burned, the rocket would not be launchable again.  The second launch was much quicker than the first.  It went off on the first try and went about as high as the first rocket.  Sadly, like the first rocket, neither of its’ parachutes deployed on the fall back to earth.  Unlike the first rocket, it remained in launchable condition after it’s flight.  The launches were very exciting experiences.

Cross section of rocket.