We had so much fun at Boeing during the Discovery Cube's annual Rocket Launch Day! You bring your own 2 liter bottle and they provide the tape, string, fins, nose cone, and parachute. We brought our own sharpies so we could decorate our rockets. My friend Trina was able to join me there for the fun.
The first thing you do when building your rocket it to attache the fins. When you put your fins on, try to make them as straight as possible. You will want to put the small side facing up to make your rocket more aerodynamic.
After you attach all four fins, you will need to cut the string for your parachute. We use four equally sized strings for ours.
Next you will need to attach the stings to your parachute. Then attach the other end of the strings to your rocket and add the nose cone.
Now it's time to decorate your rocket! Although not required, it makes it much easier to identify your rocket after it is launched and mixed in with all the other rockets.
Before you launch your rocket, you have to fill it with water. Too much water and your rocket is too heavy. A too heavy rocket will fall down right after it is launched. Too little water and it won't have enough power to get very high and will also fall down right away. We went with about half filled for our launch attempts.
Now you're ready to launch! They Discovery Cube volunteers place the nozzle on the rocket and pressurize it with nitrogen gas. When you press the launch button, the compressed gas pushes out the water through the nozzle. The bottle moves away from the water due to Newton's Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
It is so much fun to watch your rocket take off and land. It was also fun to watch other people's rockets. Some exploded with pieces go every which way right after take off. Others flew really high and took a long time to float down.
At this event we met Isabella and her dad. They made this really cool rocket at home. The used an additional 2 liter bottle that they cut in half and placed beans in for ballast at the top of the rocket. The ballast keeps the rocket stable and helps it fly straight. We are going to try out this technique next year.
My dad was also at the event. He was a volunteer at the Ask An Engineer table.
If you have an opportunity to attend a Rocket Launch event, I highly recommend you go!