SVCC STEM Camp Students Launch Rocket Replicas of Apollo 11

SVCC STEM Camp Students Launch Rocket Replicas of Apollo 11

During July of 2019, Associate Professor Brent Richey from Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) led a group of  Mecklenburg County students through a space camp celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew completed the national goal set by President John F. Kennedy eight years prior: to perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.

Held in South Hill’s Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, this camp was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. The students spent two days creating four feet tall replicas (1/100 scale) of the Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin,  and Michael Collins into space.

On the third day of the camp, which was the actual date of the moon landing 50 years ago, the students got to see if their rockets would successfully launch. There were many excited spectators present at Parker Park to view launching of the model rockets including the South Hill Volunteer Fire Department who were there as a precaution. The spectators watched in wonder as all 20 rockets built by these young scientists launched as planned.

Richey said, “The students had to commit to all four days of the camp, or not at all since there was no way to "catch up" if someone missed a day.  Also, the construction of the rockets is tedious but rewarding and there is no cost to participants.”  

He noted that the rocket kits are very detailed and the finished product makes a great display once finished properly.  

“Everyone got to keep his/her rocket after the launch, provided it survived,” he said.