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Rocketry Day at NC-150

Cadets launch rocket
Cadets from the Orange County Composite Squadron launch rockets in Hillsborough, NC. Photo Credit: Capt Lynne Albert, CAP (click image to view full size)
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Orange County Composite Squadron cadets launch rockets

9/15/2019––As the heart of the summer was slowly coming to a close and September was beginning, the Orange County Composite Squadron of Civil Air Patrol got ready to launch rockets. The cadets in the squadron had been working feverishly for months carefully gluing the allotted pieces together, while sustaining a minimum of hot glue gun injuries, until their creations were ready to cut through the sky at amazing velocities.
Everything was gathered carefully into boxes and carried out to the soccer field launch site. Tents were set up to shade the tables from the inhospitable sun. The dust on the field was thick as it had just been mowed by the lawn mowers, but no amount of dust was going to stop the launching of these rockets. One of the cadet staff officers ran to the nearest store to pick up batteries, but once she returned, it was time to begin.
One by one, the cadets lined up to get the small cylinder that was going to be the fuel for their flight. We were ready to launch! Well, almost. A thorough safety briefing was given by C/2d Lt Ryan Cassada, and then cadets started to fall into position. One cadet was given the responsibility of calculating the heights of the rockets using a blue plastic inclinometer and a simple equation. One after another, cadet-crafted rockets whizzed into the air. The small plastic aircrafts seemed to disappear into the vast blue sky before finally returning to the earth for a rough landing.
The Cadet Chase Team chased after the fallen rockets and scrambled to retrieve any pieces that they could. Maybe they could get a second run out of it if the parachute deployed and it was still in good enough shape. Of course, not every launch went as smoothly as planned. One cadet, C/TSgt Christen Johnson said, “I remember one of the rockets exploded and the parachute floated over the highway.” There were very few dull moments that day!
As the evening sunk in and the shadows of the cadets grew longer on the soccer field grass, it was time to start the cleanup of the event. Side by side, in a tight line, the cadets of NC-150 worked together to make sure they could leave the field better than they found it, cautious to not leave one scrap of rocket on the grass.
A few months after the event, C/2d Lt Jefferson Hernandez looked back and remembered, “everyone got to launch rockets that day and everyone had fun and I did too.” 
The happy day ended with snacks and drinks back inside where everyone could just relax. Now they could enjoy the rest of the time they had together after a full afternoon of launching their hard work into the heavens.