Model Rocketry in Putnam County

Rocket launch picture
Rocket being fired from pad #2, which was for some of smaller rockets.

Rocket launching was the theme of the day last Sunday for the Castlemakers that could attend. Nick and Emily Adams extended an invitation to a Rocket Launch at their place south of US40. Four families, along with some invited friends and Castlemakers got to see a wide variety of solid propellant rocket launches in South Putnam County.

Pad #1 was used for some of the larger rockets. Up to size G rocket engines can be used without FAA approval.
Pad #1 was used for some of the larger rockets. Up to size G rocket engines can be used without FAA approval.

Amateur rocketry has been popular for years; many people will remember putting together Estes rockets as kids growing up. That still continues, with additional firms involved, with more gps units, cameras, electronics and even Arduino boards. Many of the tools used in a fab lab/ makerspace are being used! For an example check out the Carbon Origins effort (10,000 feet & Mach 2 before breakup); their story was detailed in a recent article. We didn’t see that kind of launch on Sunday, but there was a video of a Mach 1.5 flight Gus hit the day before at a site near Chicago (and he does a lot bigger rockets).

Gus Piepenburg mounts a camera on the side of number 13 before launch. It wasn't the lucky number of the day, the landing didn't go well and it will become number 14 with some improvements.
Gus Piepenburg mounts a camera on a model CM-10 Bowmarc before launch. The flight didn’t go well, landing in several pieces, and after changes it will become number 14.

What we did see on Sunday was incredible. There were four families that had built multiple rockets, all involved with Indiana Rocketry, and there were two launch pads and 4 towers to launch rockets. I noticed several with GPS units (one hit 2500 feet) and several had cameras. One even had the infamous 808 keychain spy camera, sometimes used in robotics, that had a 3D printed camera case on the side of the rocket.

The local Putnam County 4H has a rocketry group if you’d like to get more involved, or you can also contact the Lafayette-based Indiana Rocketry club which has even more information.

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