PLYMOUTH – Terryville Public Library and the CATO Rocketry Club are bringing back the "Introduction to Rocketry" program for the third year for children and teens in grades 3 to 12.
Registration is open now for the program, which will have three sessions in mid-August. Participants will build, decorate and ultimately launch their own hobby rocket at the Terryville Fairgrounds. The launch will be supervised by Eric Henderson of the CATO Rocketry Club, of Durham.
“CATO model rocket club, flying out of Durham, CT prides itself in our outreach endeavors,” said Henderson. “Working with kids of all ages, we bring rocketry to life. By taking a hand-on approach, the participants are introduced to history, physics and aerodynamics in a fun environment. CATO, as a non-profit organization, offers these programs free of charge.”
Gretchen DelCegno, library director at Terryville Public Library, said that the rocket program has grown in popularity since it was first offered to a small group in 2018. There was additional participation in 2019 and last year, when the program made its return following the pandemic, was the "biggest year yet."
"We had 15 kids in the program and when they brought their siblings and family members on launch day there were about 30 people at the Terryville Fairgrounds," she said. "At first, the kids are always stunned when the rockets take off. It's like seeing fireworks for the first time. They immediately want to do it again."
DelCegno said participants will build a 21-inch tall rocket with three balsa fins called the "Thing-a-ma-jig". The rocket is designed specifically for quick, "foolproof assembly by youth.
"Kids hear about the international space station and NASA projects like missions to the moon and that we are, hopefully, going to Mars," said DelCegno. "They have also heard about commercial space flights like Blue Origin. This is a chance to present those subjects to children at a level they can understand. A lot of the same science that is used in real rockets is used here."
On the first day of the program, participants will learn about the science of rocketry and begin to assemble their Thing-a-ma-jig rocket. They will learn why Kevlar is important in rocket construction, how the motor size and flight trajectory impacts the height and distance of launch. They will measure, sand, glue and tie knots to build their rockets.
The second day of the program will give participants the chance to personalize their rockets.
On the third day of the program, the rockets will be launched up to and possibly beyond 1,000 feet in the air. They will then float gently back to the ground with the help of recovery parachutes.
The program, DelCegno said, will also teach students the skill of troubleshooting.
"Sometimes, like with real rockets, things don't go according to plan," she said. "Just like with real rockets, there can be defects. So, they try to find what's wrong and correct it."
Participants must be able to commit to all three days, Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and the launch day, which will be Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Terryville Lions Fairgrounds at 201 Washington Road. In the event of rain, the launch will be held on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Terryville Public Library also thanks the Terryville Lions Club for allowing program participants use of the Terryville Fairgrounds as a launch site.
After completion of the Introduction to Rocketry program, participants are invited to bring their rockets to participate in CATO Rocketry Club's monthly launches at White's Field in Durham.
Registration is open now, but space is limited.
To register a participant entering grades 7 to 12, visit forms.gle/BY31FCLXHDLGfaAYA.
To register a participant entering grades 3 to 6, visit to forms.gle/dWCjdJDLoq5vpMha6.
For more information about the CATO Rocketry Club, visit catorockets.org.
For more information on the program, call Terryville Public Library at 860-582-3121, visit the library at 238 Main St. or email terryvillepl.info.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.