NEIGHBORS>> Having a blast
By Sara Greene
Leader staff writer
With a jubilant countdown to each blast off, about 40 Junior Space Camp students watched MSgt. Bobby Coe of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps launch model rockets last week at Southside Elementary in Cabot.
The weeklong camp is an enrichment program where students can learn about planets, constellations, life in space and the history of flight through a variety of hand-on activities.
Junior Space Camp has been at Southside Elementary for the past two years. Before that it was held at the Arlene Cherry Memorial Library.
“Today we made space suits,” said kindergarten teacher Jane Shafer, as students displayed their paper bag space suits with empty plastic bottles on the back.
“Those are the rocket packs,” explained Ally Bevis, 5.
One of the highlights of space camp, for teachers as well as students is Rocket Day, when the classes watch members of the Cabot JROTC launch model rockets over the playground.
“This is my first year to launch rockets for Space Camp,” Coe said.
“I’ve been launching these for four years for the ROTC student’s Rocketry class.”
About 20 students watched the morning launch with Shafer and kindergarten teachers Christy Cavin and Terry Donham.
The foot-long model rockets are launched using a battery-powered ignition Coe explained.
The motors are lipstick-sized cardboard tubes of wadding and a small amount of sulfur propellant, less than in most fireworks.
The motors do not get hot enough to damage the rockets. Coe carefully set up each rocket and then pressed a button to launch.
Although each rocket contains a parachute, out of five launches that morning, only one parachute successfully opened.
Students shouted the count down for each launch, sometimes prematurely.
They eagerly informed Coe when the parachutes didn’t open and asked about the lingering smell of sulfur in the air after each launch.
“I do this for these little guys,” Coe said as the students marched back to the classroom to get ready for their parents to pick them up.
Susan Stephens’ daughters Samantha, 6, and Ashley, 9, both attend space camp.
“Ashley’s attended space camp every year,” Stephens said. “They’re teaching me things I didn’t know.”