SARA Ready for Blastoff this Weekend in Arizona

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Mar 13, 2009
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TUCSON, Arizona USA — On Saturday and Sunday, March 27th & 28th, hundreds of rockets will soar into the sky west of Tucson at an event called Desert Heat 2010, the 6th annual Winter Rocket Launch of the Southern Arizona Rocketry Association (SARA).

Members of SARA will launch their rockets, and they welcome the public to watch, learn about model rocketry, and maybe even give it a try. Rocket rentals are available for $2 per launch, including a motor.

"I did this as a kid for years and years and years," said Sean Keane, president of SARA. Keane's interest in the hobby launched when he was young. His interest was reignited when his boys got old enough to be interested. "We come out as a family, and we have a great time," he said.

Some of the rockets are basic models made by youngsters trying their first flight. Others are more than 10 feet tall and fly to up to 6,500 feet. An impressive fact is that all these rockets are designed and built to remain intact, deploy a parachute to float to the ground, then be recovered and reused. Some even carry high-tech equipment, including GPS or radio tracking transmitters.

The Desert Heat 2010 range will open at 9 a.m. (MST) each day. Keane said on a typical weekend, a rocket is launched every few minutes, until about 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. A highlight of the two-day, "fun-fly" will be a night launch from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

"If you've never been to a night launch, it's impressive," said Eric Burch, vice president of SARA. "In a daytime launch, you see mainly smoke, but at night you'll see flames coming out of the rockets. The flames come out in a whole variety of colors. It's very exciting to watch."

A children's event will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. There will be a mass launch of 50 rockets, and the kids can retrieve the rockets to turn them in for prizes.

Admission is free, and youths under 18 years old can launch rockets at no charge. The group is expecting more than 100 rocketeers from the Western United States to take part. "Over the two days, we'll have 500 to 600 launches," Burch said. "We're trying to put Tucson on the map when it comes to rocketry. We have some of the best weather and wide-open space available."

The launch site, where the Tucson International Modelplex Park Association flies remote-controlled airplanes, has ramadas, restrooms and a parking area. Rocketry and food vendors will be at the site during the rocket launch.

Our website at outlines information about all of our activities including our monthly launches and detailed directions to the launch site.

About SARA: SARA is a National Association of Rocketry (NAR) section formed in 1994. In 2005 SARA also became a Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) prefecture. The club mission is to promote model and high power rocketry, educate themselves and the public, and to have fun. SARA has members with a wide range of interests and skill levels. Some are beginners building their first model rockets and several are participating in high power rocketry.

View attachment Desert Heat 2010 Flyer v2xsml.pdf