Archive for Outreach

Spaceweek School Demo


For several years it’s been an annual tradition for HARA to launch rockets at Columbia Elementary for their Spaceweek. Vince, Duane and Duane’s friend Vinnie put on the show March 6 for the entire school firing a dozen models in the sports field. The Huntsville area is growing proven by the school’s enrollment that last year was 650 students and is now 800, all of which were out watching the launch. Vince had several small streamer models, Vinnie flew his helicopter bird twice and Duane took video from a rocket and finished with a familiar D powered school demo rocket. Duane’s firing system was perfect with no problems or misfires keeping the show right at the prescribed half hour long. One model was sacrificed to the school roof but the left over make it take rocket accepted its fate.

TARC Workshop

HARA kicked off the TARC season with a workshop conducted by Duane and Bill Saturday Sept 17. After an overview of sim programs and data interpretation by Bill, Duane led the students in building a eggloft model. This was the first workshop since covid and it was fun to get back with the kids.

HARA Goes Back To Schools

Two years to the month that the world shut down for COVID 19 HARA was back at a school doing a demo launch. Doug, Duane and Vince enjoyed a nice March day at Columbia Elementary with the return of the HARA flying circus. They launched about a dozen various models on small motors to stay within the school yard, which was easy this day with only a light wind. Duane had an Astrocam, Doug flew an egglofter and Vince had a Pyramid. The kids were already enthusiastic to be out of class early on a Friday and went into hysterics as each rocket blasted off. The teachers liked them too. Although the school launch day weather was perfect the decision to cancel the monthly HARA launch the next day due to a bad forecast turned out to be a good call as the actual weather was worse: 25°F, winds 20 mph, 2” snow. March air thou art fickle.

Winter Outreach

HARA was invited by the Space and Rocket Center to host a display on MLK day. Six members spent the holiday showing off rockets and talking about launching to the guests, many who were families touring the facility. Kids really like seeing the small models and everyone is impressed with the large ones asking, “do those really fly?” In clear skies, yes.

Thank you HARA

Our rocket club has served the community many times this year in the form of launch demonstrations and building sessions. The schools are immensely grateful and the students love it. Here are a few scenes from Horizon Elementary this month that fired 24 models.










The Jenkins family had a great day flying with Madison Cross Roads back in April. How many young Goddards have we inspired? We hope it could be a bunch.

An Active October Sky


My October weekend calendar worked out quite miraculously to be totally full of rockets. The first Saturday had the club launch in Manchester scheduled but it was rained out and doesn’t really count. On the second Saturday I gave two talks on rocketry at the Space and Rocket Center for 4-H Space Day. In the 45 minute sessions I covered the origins of model rocketry, basic launching and egglofting with a pitch for TARC. Besides the 4-H families I was addressing I was also heard by incidental museum visitors who sat down for the show thinking it was part of their admission ticket. On the third weekend in one of the more exciting events of the year, HARA supported a UNA TARC workshop directed by Lee Brownell. This build and blast was an introduction to rocketry for 26 pending teams in north west Alabama. All the student rockets flew well. Bill Cooke gives details in his blog at

On number four I was back to the SARC where I presented awards at the Reach For the Stars Ceremony as seen in the image above taken by Alan Lowrey, the Regional Director of AIAA. This chore is usually handled by Homer Hickam, but he was tied up on a book tour that day and asked me to cover this honor for him. The RFTS program brings the national winners of their model rocket contest to Huntsville every year for a memorable finale. Lastly, we had an impromptu Halloween launch on the fifth Saturday to burn off the final motors of the year. Bill covers the trick or treat action with spooky photos at  Next month I’m back to having too much ‘life’ happening on weekends to do rocketry, but I was fortunate to get in a rare run for the end of the year.

Schools Like HARA Demos

thanks columbia elem

HARA has an active presence in the community with many schools. Here are some notes we have received about our presentations. Read more

HARA busy with TARC

HARA has been busy testing and qualifying flights with the local TARC teams. For current details, photos and drama go to Bill Cooke’s rocket blog at

Schools registered in TARC are:

Pope John Paul II High School

Falcon Rocketeers

Bob Jones High School

Liberty Middle School Team

Tanner High School


Huntsville Middle

Buckhorn Middle

Russellville HS

HARA Helps Future Space Pioneers Take Flight at UCP Summer Camp

On June 20th, the day before Southern Thunder, an excellent group of HARA members and volunteers showed up to help these kiddos at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Huntsville’s summer space camp launch their paper stop rockets and their imaginations. These kiddos and their family’s cope with a variety of challenges daily, and none can be easy, but these kiddos have amazing attitudes.  We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share rocketry with them.


Read more

Falcons Counting Down to TARC Finals

This is a nice article written by Falcon team member Jack Aslan that captures the excitement of preparing for the Finals May 10. The Huntsville team is the only group from Alabama this year to attend.

2012 TARC finalist Victor Murphy recently put into words the impact the TARC program can have saying, “This is life changing. I think this has significantly changed my career choice. Before I wanted to design and build houses, but for sure now I want to be an aeronautic engineer.”