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Witness the Spectacle

Fifty years to the minute that Apollo 11 lifted off the US Space and Rocket Center set a Guinness record for mass launching the most model rockets. Of the 5000 Pathfinder models loaded on 1/2A62 engines, 78 failed to launch and 44 failed to reach the required 100 foot altitude, but still beat the Teylingen College in the Netherlands record of 4,231 model rockets launched in summer 2018.

The event was under the direction of the USSARC assisted by local aerospace sponsors and employee volunteers. Aside from some local members helping on their own to load the racks and a few who built kits, there was no connection to NAR. HARA had approached USSARC last year but they already wanted to do this Guinness record attempt rather than a scale Saturn V model launch or a Land the Eagle type event.

The weather Tuesday morning was great but getting hot as the Sun rose on fifty pallets each of a hundred rockets. Each nozzle sat on an e-match pushed through a hole in a wooden slat and as long as it stayed aligned it was good to go. The loading was completed on time with no technical glitches as the large digital countdown clock rolled along. A thousand space campers, a thousand more spectators and 175 volunteers chanted the seconds and watched as the wall of smoke rose in the flight field. A large cloud instantly formed in the sky as 4922 ejection charges fired to deploy mylar streamers. Then it rained rockets. Fortunately all pieces landed in the prescribed area well away from any spectators. What earlier had been an immaculately orderly range was now littered like a Mardi Gras parade route with landed rockets and, oh yes, all that wadding.


Wearing his NAR cap Rus Hardy of Birmingham corrects an alignment.

HARA Prefect Art Wooding and VP Allen Owen rack them up.

as my first act with this new authority, I will create a grand rocket clone army of the Republic.”

The launch had the collective impulse of an ‘L’ motor.









Meanwhile later that day Hope Rising’s TARC team flew models at Pegasus East to commemorate Apollo 11. For another report on launches that day see Bill’s blog at

Rockets and Pants

Last June we told about HARA’s project to help Levi’s jeans do a photo shoot for a fashion ad- and promised to post the pictures when they came out. Well, the spring collection is released and here are some representative shots from the portfolio, mainly ones with our rockets in them. It’s a nice homage to the ‘rocket boys’ style of the fifties and the amateur dreams of spaceflight.


Vintage Rocketeer -Jeans?

We get calls about many things related to rocketry. This latest “interesting idea” was a proposal from Levi’s jeans that wanted to do a retro  ‘Rocket Boys’ type promotional layout for their vintage line of jeans, shirts, coats, etc. They were looking for models, props and locations for a period photo shoot about the beginning of the Space Race in the 1950s in Huntsville, Alabama. The pitch was; “The main story opens with people staring at the October sky in 1957 trying to see Sputnik. We will then focus on a group of young high school kids (wearing Levi’s) with a passion for building rockets. They will be taught about rockets by teachers in a rocket club and build and launch model rockets.” The photographer found several scenes of old classrooms, labs and garage workshops in which to stage shots. We had plenty of vintage rockets for props and did a launch for them. It’s a bit strange to be able to readily provide authentic fifty year old model rocket equipment, but the recreation was very realistic. It may be the first professionally staged scenes that are digitally imaged of early rocket club launches.

The pictures will be compiled into a book that’s distributed to their prime retailers to be released next spring. We’ll post some of them here then. Shown here are a few of the “looking into the sky for the rocket” scenes being taken by a fashion cameraman who’s about to learn about Alabama fire ants.


HARA was well represented at NARCON this year by three members, Art, Bill and Vince. For a nicely detailed report see

 Here are some additional pictures of the weekend which ended with a tour of the Udvar-Hazy Museum.

Carl Curling shows results in his “Painting and Finishing” talk.






Bart Merkley demonstrates laminating fiberglass onto a cardboard tube to add strength.






Some display items were brought to the motel.

The NAR National Sport Launch is here

NSL SR ad NSL is here in time and space. Time, as in soon. Space, as in physically on our field. HARA, with help from MC2 and SOAR, is hosting the sport rocketry world for a three day fun launch. It’s not specifically an education launch like TARC or SLI and in no way a competition like NARAM. It’s just the celebration of rocketry in low, medium and high power. Come out for a day or all three, but don’t miss the flying circus that is the NSL.


NARCON Dedicates Model Rocketry Exhibit at Museum of Flight


The new exhibit of model rocketry at the Museum of Flight in Seattle featuring the Estes and Stine collection was dedicated in the Space Gallery February 21, 2015, by the NAR Board of Trustees. The ‘Remove Before Flight’ ribbon was cut by NAR President Ted Cochran and Dan Hagedorn, Senior Curator and Director of Collections. Also present in the photo are Trip Barber, Bill Stine, Vern Estes and Pat Fitzpatrick. Read more

A Look Back at 2014

In other words, here are some photos I didn’t get posted on time that I’m squeezing in here at the end of the year.aprDSC_0250a

There are family shots, students working on payloads and scenes from the TARC building session. HARA had a great year and hopefully will have a happy new one. Read more

NAR dues now $25 for 25 year olds

NAR has just dropped the dues rate for rocketeers aged 21-25 to $25 a year. This is for full membership benefits (insurance, magazine, etc.) that previously were $62. The age range for this rate was 16-20, but it was expanded at the last NAR board meeting to be age 16-25. This is not a limited time discount, but a new rate structure to attract and accommodate the growing number of post TARC and college rocketeers.

The new enrollment form will look like this

SR (Age 26 and older) Join – 1 Year ($62) – Regular Magazine
SR (Age 21-25) Join – 1 Year ($25) – Regular Magazine

Tell your student friends the price is right to join NAR.

Chris’s Rocket Supplies To Be At Launch Saturday


Chris has confirmed that he is going to come up to the August 9th launch. You can write Chris at or checkout his website (click here).


Incredible time lapse of the crescent Moon setting behind the Saturn V

Setting crescent moon and the Saturn V rocket at the Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL, 29 July 2014. Taken with a Canon 6D, Canon 200 mm f/2.8 with 2x extender, 1 sec exposures every 3 sec. The rocket is 7 miles away.

Crescent Moon and Saturn V Time Lapse from Roy Spencer on Vimeo.

Credit: Dr. Roy Spencer, Huntsville, AL