LUNAR: Model Rockets At Moffett Field
Sophia found a local model rocketry club called LUNAR. They get together about once a month at Moffett Field and launch rockets. We decided to check it out this month.
I was just excited to be on the ramp at Moffett, in the enormous shadow of Hangar 1. Max thought it was pretty cool, too.
The crowd was huge! Much bigger than I expected for a model rocketry club, at least. Everyone had cool setups with tables, camp chairs, and toolboxes. There were a lot of parents with kids and a lot of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
They had five banks of five launch pads each, all of which were controlled by a central ignition system operated at Mission Control. The line to launch was very long, but it moved quickly. They definitely have the process ironed out and they move through the launches pretty efficiently. Aside from minimizing the wait times for launchers, it also keeps it fun for us spectators, because there's a steady stream of launches to watch.
Max and I spotted a fighter jet parked on the ramp, so we wandered over to get a closer look. I don't know my warbirds especially well, but I believe this is an early model F/A-18 Hornet. Unfortunately, this particular example has seen better days. It looks like NASA has been using this airframe for parts. Lots of control surfaces and other parts were missing, and the plane had been mostly gutted.
It was cool to look in the air intakes and be able to see right out the back end of the plane. From the rear it was striking how empty the plane looked with the engines missing. These things really are tiny cockpits strapped to two huge jet engines.
Max and I are going to spend some time in the shop before the next meeting so we have something of our own to launch.