Many things needed to be in place to ensure a successful launch. Here is a behind the scenes look at what it took to get ready for launch day.
In search for a cost effective yet awe-inspiring rocket, we turned to AC Supply Co. This company specializes in delivering affordable hobby supplies to the educational and industrial markets. Ironically enough, this happened to be the same provider that supplied the previous world record holders in College Station Texas. With a little experience in the record-breaking realm, Doug Wilmes was able to recommend us the Make It-Take It Special Edition Flag Rocket. This rocket was big enough to make an impression, small enough to be practical, and was extremely cost affordable. Using the A8-3 Estes rocket engine, it is designed to reach heights of over two-hundred feet!
Assembling the Rockets
Friends Help With Assembling the First 100 Rockets
Community Effort Rocket Building
There have been so many friends, family members and even people we have never met come to help us build rockets. The volunteer assistance has been overwhelming and we are grateful to live in such a giving community. We have had over 80 different volunteers come by on multiple occasions, logging almost 400 hours of building!
We decided to build the rockets one step at a time. For example, building all 4,000 engine mounts before moving on to the next step. This method is much faster and somewhat less daunting than building each rocket from start to finish. There are 14 steps required to complete one rocket, the last step being the application of the custom decal with a name dedicated on it. As of September 30th, we are almost done with step 9!
There were two main obstacles concerning the logistics of launching over 4,000 rockets. First and foremost, location. We needed to find an area where there was a vast open space and plenty of room for spectators to come witness the event safely. At first we thought a high school football field would be ideal but unfortunately permission from Chesterfield County Public Schools could not be granted. The Fire Marshall suggested Chesterfield County Fairgrounds so we decided to investigate. This was the perfect set-up and will be used to break the world record.
The second obstacle we needed to tackle was making sure that all 4,000 rockets launch at the same time, safely. We contacted Jake Walters from Southern Exposure, a commercial fireworks company located in Fredericksburg. With plenty of experience in electrical wiring for ignition sequences, Southern Exposure has generously donated their time to help with the event.
Assembling the Launch Pallets
Central Virginia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen
When choosing a beneficiary, we needed a reputable organization that fully utilizes their funding. Komen Central VA gives approximately 75 percent of its income to local organizations, while giving the remaining 25 percent to national cancer research groups. This combination of local and national support was why we chose Susan G. Komen. The executive director of the Virginia branch, Linda Tiller, was very supportive of our cause. We met with her several times to discuss details about the project, and she was very cordial throughout our meetings. They have agreed to give us educational materials for the day of launch and as of August 11th, we have become an official third party affiliate.
For more recent information about our event, please visit our Facebook page.
For more general questions, please email us.