‘RocketDay’ Lifts Off Sept. 6 With Astronaut Visit, Model Rocket Launches

Astronaut John Phillips

LANL News:

Former NASA shuttle astronaut and Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) research scientist, John Phillips, will take on a new mission as he helps to launch the first of 270 model rockets in White Rock as part of the Los Alamos ScienceFest’s “RocketDay” 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6.

“Science and technology are cool, and there’s nothing cooler than launching rockets,” retired NASA astronaut John Phillips said. “Los Alamos has been in the forefront of science and engineering, including space research, for 70 years no

“The original intent behind establishing a RocketDay was to celebrate LANL’s 50 years of involvement in rocketry and space activities,” said retired LANL physicist and organizer of RocketDay, Robb Hermes. “Because LANL has launched approximately 270 rockets that carried instruments into outer space in that time, the same number of model rockets will be launched during RocketDay, over a period of a few hours.”

Girl Scout Troop 116, comprised of 12 seventh grade girls, took on the RocketDay project in order to earn their Girl Scout Silver Award. The troop learned to build model rockets using a kit provided by the Zia Spacemodelers Club, with funding from Boeing and the LANL Community Programs office.

The troop recently trained sixth grade students in the Los Alamos Public School (LAPS) district how to assemble the rockets. Students are allowed two hours to work on the rockets during class for educational purposes.

“The Girls Scouts’ goal is not only to get these model rockets built, but to build interest in rocket modeling and participation in RocketDay,” said Ryn Herrmann, marketing assistant with Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation and co-leader of Troop 116. “They hope to engage not only the teachers, administrators and the students with whom they are working, but the public as well.”

The public is invited to join in the rocket-themed activities on RocketDay which includes launching of water rockets and stomp rockets, face-painting and art projects, as well as food vendors.

At the event, former Astronaut John Phillips will take photos with the public and sign autographs. Phillips will also speak at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7 about the construction and operation of the International Space Station, based on his three trips to the orbital outpost, along with other fascinating experiences living and working in space. Phillips’ “Heavy Lifting in Space: Building the International Space Station” talk will be held at the Bradbury Science Museum and is free and is sponsored by Boeing.

RocketDay launches the Los Alamos ScienceFest – a nine day festival of mind-blowing demonstrations, interactive activities, art, and discussions for inquisitive minds of all ages –Sept. 5–13 in Los Alamos. RocketDay takes place at Overlook Park, located at 580 Overlook Road in White Rock.

RocketDay is sponsored by Girl Scout Troop 116, the National Association of Rocketry Section 517 (Zia Spacemodelers), Boeing, Los Alamos County, Los Alamos Main Street, and the Los Alamos Kiwanis Club.

For a complete list of events during Los Alamos ScienceFest or for more information about RocketDay, visit losalamossciencefest.com.