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Iain's Rocket Diary Day 1 2 3

Day Three

Our work today was pretty repetitious. We set up our payload on Kathy’s water rocket, pump it up, fire it off (sometimes) and then decide why our payload had (a) not come unstuck or (b) come unstuck but failed to open. Usually we were also soaked by water in the process. We’d already decided to ditch Jonathan’s air rocket and Mike’s gas rocket wasn’t doing very much, so only Kathys’ was getting any height. Even then we were talking a few metres to tens of metres, so out chute wasn’t having enough time to detach and fall freely. There were constant refinements, this time with Jonathan and Mike helping out since they’d abandoned their efforts. But we had competition – the crew had decided that they could do a better water rocket so they set about building an alternative. We had a space race on our hands. To be fair, when they set off theirs it went up for miles, much to their delight. Still, it wasn’t on camera, so it didn’t count. Reluctant to be shown up, we stuck with our more gentle one. Even after an afternoon of valiant efforts and numerous failures, we still hadn’t had a full dress rehearsal with the egg inside. But time was up. We needed to film the finale. The two sets of cameras set up and we made final refinements to our launching system.

Of course, it worked. We pumped up the air into the upturned bottle, half filled with air. When the pressure inside exceeded the grip of the jubilee clip at the corked cap of the bottle, it blew off. The bottle, with our payload balanced loosely on top, soared into the sky. As it reached its maximum height and turned to descend, there were a few anxious seconds of hesitation. This was typically when the chute just refused to come out. But this time it did, the parachute canopy quickly opening and the whole thing floating off to land behind the wood pile. We rushed to see the damage. Gingerly, Kate opened up the payload and took out the egg – unbroken. Then she cracked it (whew, just as well we hadn’t gone hard-boiled). Yoke! Success. Pats on back. Whooping and hollering. Lots of beers. Ingredients for a great Rough Science.

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