Form III Rocket Launches


Photo Credit: Br. Raphael

Noah Fohlmsbee, Writer

This year’s series of Third Form rocket launches was an amazing spectacle! Many excellent rockets were created, fired, and recovered, with only a small minority getting lost in the branches of a tree, the depths of the Trinity, or becoming out of sight forever behind the old rusty train-tracks. Some particularly unlucky rockets even exploded midair, spewing their ashy remains all over the Hidden Field. Another two very unlucky rockets had a parachute malfunction and crashed into the parking lot. But, other than those, all the rockets worked perfectly, creating a radiant show for our eyes. The actual dates of the launches were randomly scattered across the months of March and April, due to extensive rain delay and breaks. We did eventually finish them though, and Nicholas Ringdahl noted that “The best part about the rocket project was finally seeing them fly off in the sky.”

Building the rocket, for me personally, was a rather enjoyable experience. I got to work with my dad to create a shiny gold and silver model, the Estes Expedition. I’m sure it was also very enjoyable for others, but many people, including myself, decided it would somehow be a good idea to wait until the last couple of days to build their rockets. This led to a stressful and potentially dangerous heap of mumbo-jumbo when assembling the rocket. But some didn’t even have an option. Over half of our form was out with the flu during this time, which made it very hard to get the rocket in on time. Tarun Senthil Kumar said that “At first I thought it would be hard for me to make the rocket, but it only took little amounts of work at different times and precise spray painting.” Albert Parmenter agreed that it required very precise painting, and went on to say that “painting it was not easy, but it was worth it when I saw my fly through the air.”

During the launches, we were allowed to use our mobile devices to record video, which may not have been the best idea. While it did allow us to get tons of awesome slow-motion shots of the rockets soaring to the heavens, it also allowed for some more illicit ways to pass the time. With the new release of Fortnite mobile and other distracting apps, it was fairly easy to get sidetracked…

Some of the more enjoyable launches were the rocket races. For those, two rockets would be lined up on a launch pad and soar through the sky to see which one was faster and able to reach a higher altitude. Recovering the rockets was also a very fun experience. Sending groups of children into the woods to look for recently launched rockets worked (surprisingly) well. We had lots of fun exploring and our mission success rate was (slightly) above fifty percent. There were only a few accidents, one student fell into a huge mud pile when looking for another student’s lost rocket. That rocket was recovered, but at a cost. Luckily, everything turned out fine and the rest of the day was pretty normal.

Overall the launches were very successful, and the rocket recovery rates were very high. Even with some of their rockets going up in flames or disappearing in the forrest, everyone had tons of fun and students like Nate Stecklein agreed that “it was an uplifting experience; we went outside during school and we improved in physics at the same time.” It was a great experience and I hope the incoming Third Formers will have a just as good of an experience, although they should probably play less Fornite Mobile during their launches than we did.