A few weeks ago we spent the afternoon with the Cub Scouts shooting off rockets. What a blast! (Har har!) It had been 20+ years since I shot off rockets so I was excited to do this with Henry and introduce him to it.
The Scouts shot two different types of rockets. The first was an awesome air-powered rocket made with nothing more than paper and tape. (See Instructables for instructions on making your own paper rocket.) I was skeptical about how well this rocket would work but, man, was it fun. A simple PVC launcher powered by a bicycle pump could send these rockets up a hundred or more feet in the air. They were surprisingly durable and Henry was able to fire his rocket 7 or 8 times. He grew bored before the rocket gave out.
The other rocket type was solid fuel. Opening up the Estes rocket kit was like a entering a time machine. Nothing has changed from when I was in elementary and middle school as far as these kits were concerned. I vividly recall a rocket I made at Space Camp that had a clear plastic “payload area” that we eagerly loaded with crickets. When the parachute deployed as designed, all was well. When the chute failed to open… you were left with an opaque, sticky payload area.
Henry liked the solid fuel rockets best, in large part because of the yummy gunpowder smell that permeated the field after we were done launching. He eagerly ran from rocket to rocket trying to collect as many spent engines as he could.