Rocket Club Wraps Up Season of High Flying

The Oldest and Smallest of Virginia’s Military Schools Gets Big Air Through Technology

recap by Coach Galloway

Fishburne Military Schools Rocket Team Aims HighCulpeper, VA — Cadets at Military Schools are generally expected to keep their feet on solid ground, but the Fishburne Military School Rocket Club just wrapped up a successful season with their heads in the clouds. The Caissons had their final launch of the season at the Tripoli Site in Culpeper last Saturday.

The day started well as the sun broke out and warmed the bare fields. Steam wafted along the newly furrowed ground and the temperature was ideal as our team launched a couple practice runs to get closer to the mark of 850 feet and 46 seconds of flight. They may have hit the mark but between the 2nd and 3rd launches a cold front moved through and the wind went from about zero to gusting to 20mph. This changed everything including chute lift, air density, altitude, and recoverability.

The Fishburne Rocket men were still able to get in three qualifying launches, but the scores are not likely to get us into the nationals at Haymarket in May. We lost one rocket to the power lines but the local utility was in the area and quick to cut it loose so we got our valuable parts and electronics back. Still, this year’s team came closer to qualifying for nationals than other FMS teams of past years. The Caissons just need a little more engineering and practice.

Lastly, a special Bravo Zulu to Mr. Steve Saltzman for attending our launches, providing many good photographs, and financially supporting us with many motors and other goodies. This is no small feat as he lives and works in Maryland. His help was immeasurably important as this freed me up to work more closely with the cadets to get things off the ground. Motors can cost $20 a piece and a typical launch crew can go through 9 or 10 a day.  Moreover, he has caught the rocket bug and has been launching his own rockets so I expect our teams will see more of him at our launches.

Until next year, sunny skies.

The oldest and smallest of all military schools for boys in Virginia, Fishburne Military School’s college-prep curriculum is built upon the structure of an Army JROTC program.
FMS is designated as a JROTC Honor Unit with Distinction and may nominate qualified candidates to the United States Service Academies. Fishburne hosts one of only four
Summer JROTC programs in the nation, accredited by US Army Cadet Command.