On February 21, Mount Vernon Composite Squadron (MVCS) cadets completed phase 1 of their program leading to a model rocketry badge.
The model rocketry program consists of three progressively challenging phases. At the end of phases 1 and 2, cadets receive a certificate signed by the squadron commander. After successful completion of phase 3, the cadets receive their model rocketry badge. Phase 1 is completed indoors and focuses on the fundamentals of rocketry and propulsion.
As part of the aerospace education mission, CAP provides support for educational conferences and workshops nationwide; develops, publishes and distributes national academic standards-based aerospace education curricula for kindergarten through college classrooms. CAP provides educators with free educational programs, products and services, including orientation airplane flights; and, provides comprehensive aerospace education resources online.
2d Lt Samuel Abbe instructed the room full of cadets in the final portion of phase 1 which consisted of making two types of rockets, the Goddard rubberband-powered model, and the “fizzy flyer,” powered by Alka-Seltzer® antacid tablets. During the first part of phase 1, cadets pass a written test. Cadet Marcus Wilson said, “the test covered the history of the rocket. The first rockets were used at Chinese festivals and were called fire sticks.” C/Amn Nebay Haile stated that this was the first time he had participated in rocketry and that, “it is a good program and I’ve learned a lot.” Haile is also a member of the MVCS color guard.
Abbe, an active duty Air Force officer, explained that phases 2 and 3 of instruction would move outdoors where cadets would build and launch either a 2-stage rocket, or a 1-stage rocket with a small payload. These Estes rockets are powered by B-class black powder rocket motors and will fly 300 to 700 feet in the air before returning to earth. Abbe stated that all instructional materials were provided online via the CAP web site.