Build a real micro-rocket at Scifest Africa
18th March 2015

In this mind-blowing workshop, audiences will be guided through the process of making their own micro-rockets. John Crossland says the audience will be divided into pairs, and together they will build solid fuel rockets which will be electrically ignited. The rockets will shoot100 metres into the air above Fort Selwyn and then return gently to Earth suspended from a parachute. 

Each rocket is made out of a cardboard tube about 30cms high and two centimetres in diameter. Participants then make fins out of corex, which is a light hollow plastic, and they hot glue them into place. They make parachutes, stuff them into the tube and then pop a nose cone on the top.

In the final stage they put an igniter wire into the bottom and then take the rocket to the launch pad. After ignition, the propellant burns for two seconds which accelerates the rocket to 10 metres per second. After the fuel is exhausted, the rocket continues to rise as a chemical material inside burns for five seconds and then ignites a small charge which deploys the parachute. The parachute is deployed as the rocket reaches its highest point, or apogee,where gravity brings it to a stop and begins to pull it back to Earth.

Where the rocket lands, is dependent on the wind speed and direction. Returning the rocket to participants is dependent on whether Sheldon (the range officer) is able to find it in the bush.

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