Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The launch of LEO 5

Since Monday was a day off from school and work, and since the weather promised to cooperate, we decided to attempt the maiden voyage of the Leo 5 rocket.  A few months ago Tony (aka, Papa) asked Leo how he should design and build his next rocket, and Leo told Tony to make it really big with 5 engines because Leo had just turned 5.  Tony's built many rockets in the past, and the most recent ones have been of his own design and construction entirely. But this next one was a tall order and a bit ambitious, even for an experienced "aerospace engineer" like Papa!  A 1-engine rocket is pretty powerful and will shoot pretty high, but 5 engines would deliver an almost nuclear explosion--and the rocket had to be large enough to accommodate them.
So Tony worked on the design for several weeks then ordered the parts and components he'd need for construction.  This is one of the joys of his retirement--being able to enjoy his hobbies at leisure while doing fun things with the grandkids.  When the rocket was completed, Tony handed it off to graphic designer son-in-law Josh for a custom paint job.  Josh chose shiny gold paint with block lettering for the name.  Upon return to Tony's "rocket room", the payload section was packed with 12 shiny half dollars (2 per grandchild), a bunch of M&M packets to enjoy afterward, and 7 bright orange whiffle golf balls.  The kids enjoy retrieving their treasures even more than watching the rocket blast off!
We found a large field in Denton far from any major streets or highways.  There were some homes nearby so wind direction and the angle of the rocket had to be factored into where the rocket was set up for launch.
Here is Tony clipping the igniters onto the engines.
Do you think this field is big enough?
A good spot was found and the rocket was set at an angle to launch into the wind.
The construction and excellent paint job up close.
And even closer!
The Cribbies and Wieses arrived for the big event.  It was quite a trek across the big field, especially for the little ones.
Zoey, Leo, and Ruby caught up on the latest cousin news while final preparations were made.
And then we all backed up a good bit to stay out of the danger zone.
A perfect lift-off!  Tony was so happy it actually got off the ground!!  :-)
The G-forces (or something--I'm beyond of my sphere of knowledge here) caused the M&Ms to pulverize inside their packets, so the kids noshed on little crumbs of chocolate and candy shell!
Then they waited expectantly for their shares of the half dollars and golf balls to take home.
Sam was fairly oblivious to the excitement, 'though not as oblivious as he was at last year's launch.  We all had a great time and are looking forward to the next rocket adventure.  Leo 5 will have to be rebuilt because it was pretty beat up when it hit the ground, and Tony wants to tweak a few things to make it go higher and further.  Stay tuned for future developments in the wonderful world of Leo aerospace projects!