My start in rocketry

I started in model rocketry in 1963 when I was eight years old. Estes Industries had an ad in the back of "Boy's Life" magazine for a starter kit: 75¢ bought you an Estes Streak, two 1/2A6-4 rocket engines (1/2A.8-4 back then; thrust measurements were in English pounds-force rather than today's metric Newtons), and a sheet on how to construct a launch pad and launch controller. I think it might have included a launch switch (a piece of spring brass and a couple of brass screws mounted on a chunk of Masonite). My dad got a length of 1/8 inch welding rod for the launch rod and we stuck it in a chunk of 2 x 8 wood for the launch pad.

I couldn't believe that a real rocket was something I could afford. I vividly remember taping my three quarters to the letter, and anxiously awaiting my shipment via the USPS.

I must have brushed on ten coats of Testor's enamel on that Streak. All that extra mass didn't slow it down, though. We launched it from our backyard and it lived up to its name - we never saw it again.

© Steve Byan 2011-2016