If you like to build model rockets or if you just like to watch stuff go really high up in the air, the Goddard Space Center’s monthly model rocket launches are the place to be. On the first Sunday of each month, the NASA site offers families and other rocket enthusiasts the chance to use the center’s launch pads to send their models up, up and away – and participation is free.
No model? No problem. Model enthusiasts can even buy kits and parts at the Goddard gift shop and get advice and tips from the on-site launch experts. Or forget launching a model rocket yourself and just sit back and enjoy the action.
Model rocketry has been a popular hobby since the 1950s, and it gained immense popularity in the next decade as we got closer and closer to landing on the moon. The model rocket launches at the Goddard Space Center have been a part of the center’s activities since 1976, and they’re sponsored by the local NARHAMS Model Rocket Club, an affiliate of the National Association of Rocketry. NAR is the world’s oldest and largest space modeling group with more than 5,200 members and 125 clubs across the U.S.
For the monthly launches, all model rockets are given a preflight safety assessment and a safety briefing is also provided before launch. Thinking about breaking out of earth’s orbit? Sorry – models whose altitudes might exceed 2,000 feet aren’t permitted at these launches.
Of course, if model rocketry’s not your thing, you can always hang out in the Goddard Visitor Center and check out the exhibits that were designed to teach all about the rockets and payloads that have been built at the space center since the 1950s.
You can learn more about the launches and other Goddard events by visiting the Goddard Visitor Center website: http://visitorcenterevents.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=event.viewEventDetails&event_id=21.
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