Troop 868 in Action
NASA: Spring Break Trip
(Wednesday~Sunday, April 3~7, 2013)

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Despite the impressive displays and all the technology that was being shown, the scouts' favorite part of their visit was making paper rockets and launching them with compressed air during the propulsion workshop.  

The rocket launches concluded our formal tour.  We then had about 90 minutes to ride the "Space Shot" that simulated the G-forces astronauts experience during lift-off, ride the "Zero-G" that used centripetal force to simulate weightlessness, scale the rock climbing wall, browse the displays, or visit the gift shop.  One very interesting display the the boys discovered was a robotics lab that was actually part of another program conducted by the Center.  Not realizing it was actually closed, several of the scouts wandered in.  The technician in charge of the area came over to politely run them out but decided to let them stay when they started asking intelligent questions.  He even activated several of the robots and demonstrated the things they could do.  This was yet another example of the benefits of being well-behaved and serious rather than acting silly.  It also demonstrated how friendly and engaging everyone at the Space Center acted toward our group. 

On the way out, we encountered an SR-71 "Blackbird" spy plane and stopped to look at it before heading back to the youth house for dinner and some more time in the game room.

On Sunday morning we arose early, got packed up, and cleaned the youth house so that the church could use it for their youth worship service and Sunday School.  We ate a light breakfast of cereal and doughnuts at a picnic table in the side yard before walking to the sanctuary to attend the morning worship service.  The pastor and several members of the congregation invited us to come back and visit again.  A few years down the road, we'll probably accept their gracious offer. 

Gavin has his rocket completed and ready for launching. Scoutmaster Meek carefully checks the alignment of the tail fins on the rocket he built with Mr. Hagerman.
Henry attaches the tail fins to his rocket. Zach is either naming or decorating his rocket.
Outside in the launch area, our tour guide places the rockets onto the compressed air device that will launch them one by one. With 6 rockets ready to go, our guide prepares to start launching them.
As they go off, the scouts watch them climb into the sky then fall back to earth. Most of them flew about 200 feet high and fell nose first into a grassy lawn 100 to 150 feet down range.
This one flew the farthest and landed beyond the field in the corner of a paved lot. After our formal tour ended, Toby, Brixton, Matthew, and Nichols headed for the rock climbing wall.
Nearly all the scouts also braved a ride on the "Space Shot" at least once.  For several, once was enough. These guys stumbled into a robotics lab that was actually closed but the technician on duty fired up the robots and gave them a demonstration.
Most of the members of the group posed for a photo in front of an SR-71 "Blackbird" supersonic spy plane. The troop sat in the sanctuary at Aldersgate United Methodist Church waiting for the morning worship service to begin.

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