Monday, April 4, 2011

Georgia Rockets In The Sky

*Editor's note: completed, but I still would like any help with further fleshing it out. send advice to:
This weekend is the one I was waiting for. The climax of my life, the point from which I will never rise to again. This weekend, I attain true glory and honor. This weekend, the world knows my name. The world, for me, will never be the same again.
This weekend, this high point of my career, starts at a Jameson Inn, somewhere between a Holiday Inn and an apartment complex. The beds smelled clean, the room looked pampered, and I was sure I’d find the body in the shower, but was sadly mistaken. Though, the television was still several feet thick, which brought me back to reality.
This weekend was GRITS. Georgia Rockets In The Sky, or Girls Raised In The South. It was the first regional rocket launch in Georgia in at least ten years, and the anticipation was so palpable it could be cut with a knife (several people wanted to, but think: if you cut the anticipation, what happens? This question left everyone’s knives in their bags, untouched). Three days of anything NASA wouldn’t care about, coupled with a beautiful field and Great Ribs, “In The South”, and you have any rocketeer’s dream. Forty-seven pads dotted the field, and there were no waits for anything. The FAA waiver was somewhere up at eight thousand feet in the sky, and over two-hundred thirty-five rockets flew to test that height. We'd have lunch made by trusty scouts on each of the three days, and amazing BBQ for dinner on Saturday.
For an idea of the field's size, here's a small rocket on Saturday that went up.
I wasn’t there for the experimental Friday, but early on Saturday, I set foot and realized I must have murdered seven different species of plants on the Calhoun field. Purple flowers covered acres of land, throwing the land into an agreeable hodgepodge of colors. The size of the field made me doubt the distance the away-away cells were placed, which was the regulated thousand feet. People already set up rockets on the pads, half an hour before the launch was begun. People wanted to fly. I myself sat down, preparing for a long day of large, amazing flights.
            What Mother Nature prepared for us was a day when anything not tacked down by a sizeable rock was immediately given free rides across the field. By noon, we communally decided to remove our tent flaps, and the flight line assumed a ghostly non-green-covered pallor. The wind sock was thrown into convulsions many, many times. Despite these worrying sights, the wind stayed below twenty miles per hour, and many people tried their luck. Saturday was successful, in that not much was flown that couldn’t come back.
Sunday was a different story. Any wind was an anomaly. Of course, the weatherman had to point out that the mother of all storms was about to rock the southeast, but I enjoyed this quiet before the storm. Among the very vibrant launches was the ill-fated up-scale of the down-scaled Saturn V. There was an audio recording of the last two minutes before the launch, with all the preparations. The iconic liftoff sounds were sadly ten seconds off synchronization with the actual happenings, the audio playing the liftoff early. Everett Stowe’s beautiful bird went up… then down. Newton would be proud. You’d probably find many videos on YouTube, considering that about ten people recorded it.Link below:
It was a memorable moment. other moments included several certification flights, and a two-stage  rocket that went off two I class motors and came back on the field. the man who flew it was amazing.
Not only are the rockets memorable from this weekend, but the field also begs recollection. At least seven species of flower colored the ground, and you killed five of them no matter where you set foot. At the far end of the field, on the elbow of the Coosawattee River, the camping facilities include two large pavilions, three firepits, a fishing site with six foot fish, and running water (with restrooms!). The cows were moved to a different pasture, though I wanted to tip a few.
In every way, I feel GRITS will get much more attention from the Southeast rocketry community. Thanks to Southern Area Rocketry (SoAR) and Tripoli Atlanta for coming out and participating in this high point of my young life.
links to various rockets who've wormed onto youtube:
Burl's FatNike
Kyle's Qubit
Okay, we need more videos of rockets there. where are all the Saturn V posts???

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