Hardin Planetarium offers rocket building challenge at SKy Science Festival

On Saturday (April 27) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the SKy Science Festival in Circus Square Park, WKU’s Hardin Planetarium offers an opportunity for attendees to build and launch rockets.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first steps on the Moon by the astronauts of Apollo 11, Hardin Planetarium’s activity tent at the SKy Science Festival will have a rocket theme. “We are presenting an activity which celebrates the Apollo 11,” said Planetarium Coordinator Ronn Kistler. “Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to visit another body in the solar system.”

To be certain of getting one of the limited number of time slots for building the compressed air rockets, anyone interested in participating can sign up at http://wku.edu/planetarium.

Registrants should then show up at the Hardin Planetarium activity tent at the SKy Science Festival on Saturday (April 27). They will need no prior experience, but they should come with a willingness to experiment and create. From there, Planetarium staff will provide construction materials and guidance to help to help them build compressed air rockets.

Each hour, there will be a rocket launch from the Expo stage. Well-designed rockets can achieve heights of over 100 feet in the air and the launch can be spectacular to watch.

The rocket launch will be only one of many events, exhibits, food and music at the SKy Science Festival Expo Day. Admission to this family friendly festival in celebration of science is free, and there will be interactive events for all ages to enjoy.

“We’re creating a winning situation for everyone,” said Kistler, who will emcee the launch events. “Participants get to create rockets and, in the process, begin to understand the basics of propulsion and flight.”

The Planetarium will award prizes for the most creatively designed rockets that actually fly. “We hope,” said Kistler, “that participants will be motivated to take part in other rocket competitions held around the region. Rocket design and launch competitions have been a wonderful way for young southern Kentuckians to demonstrate their science and engineering abilities.”

For more information, contact the Planetarium at hardin.planetarium@wku.edu

Contact: Richard Gelderman, Hardin Planetarium, 270-745-4044

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