Once Upon a Time in 1965...

Dave A

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When I was 6 years old my brother Bill, who was 11 years older, was in High School. He was already flying all kinds of Centuri and I believe Estes rockets at the time. The largest was probably a Big Bertha or some Centuri equivalent. This what he and 3 friends built (Bill did most of the design and work).

Rocket_Boys.jpg Centuri_Rocket.jpg rocketmen.jpg

Yes, they launched a mouse and yes it was just fine afterwards.
It left the launchpad with a cluster 3 Centuri F-97s (nearest we can tell)and staged to a single F-97 and returned under a damaged, custom-sewn silk chute.
I am working with him to do a complete write-up of the project that was 52 years ago!
Anyone ever seen anything like this that long ago?

(P.S. In the right-hand picture is our mother: an amazing woman for her time. She designed and built 5" HVAR unguided anti-tank rockets at China lake for the Korean War. In the pic she had been a Senior Engineer for 12 years at the Savannah River Site, under the Atomic Energy Commission umbrella, now known as DOE. All she did on this project was make the chute from scratch)
 
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o1d_dude

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Thanks for sharing a bit of your family history, Dave.

Given your background, it seems you were destined to become a rocketeer.
 

MaxQ

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Very interesting, like to see those stories from the old days.
I didn't know there were Centuri F97s available back then ...wish I had access to them.
We rarely saw Centuri kits at our LHS. It was all Estes and A,B,C motors in those blue tubes.

I guess there were no PETA around to criticize these guys.......or it was not an issue given what NASA was doing, or this was outside the NAR's purview.
 

Woody's Workshop

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Dave, at age 11 I don't think your brother was IN high school.
Did you mean he launched at his High School?
11 would put him in 5th or 6th grade, depending on when his birthday was and when this pic was taken.

I love this era of rocketry, Thank You Kindly for sharing.
I remember the styles of clothing and hair cuts well.
 

Dave A

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Was the F97 a BP motor? How did they ignite the upper stage?

Yes they were BP. Lower stage cluster motors were glued in thin plywood centering rings. He cut open a few shotgun shells and just poured the powder on top of the booster engines, he knows more than I but when it staged it wasn't exactly legal or reusable for that matter.
 
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Dave A

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He built the launch pad out of scrap lumber. He told me he used a reverse configuration what is now the 1010-style rail. Pieces of C-rail on the rocket and some T-slot on the pad, may have been some hobby railroad track.
 

Lowpuller

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My brother did the same thing about the same time period.

He actually built a maze and timed how long it took the mouse find cheese in the maze after they learned the maze.

Then he launched one and kept the other as a control. Then he rechecked time to find the cheese.

After about tree flights it landed on a tree. We always hoped the mouse chewed his way out.

All for a high school project.

I suspect this would be frowned upon now days.
 

Jackball74

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Great articles and pics! Love to see stuff from the beginning of the hobby!
 
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