A group of Calgarians launched a homemade rocket ship in southern Alberta to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The rocket was a 1:20 scale model of the Saturn V.
A homemade rocket blasted into space in southern Alberta to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when the first of humankind set foot on the moon.The Kronos E, a 1:20 scale replica of the Saturn V that launched from Florida on July 16, 1989 transporting the first three people to the moon, was built by a group Calgarians and took flight near Lethbridge on Saturday.While it wasn’t a giant leap for mankind, it was a significant step for rocketeers in Canada. The six-metre tall, 90-kilogram rocket is the largest model rocket ever thrust into the atmosphere in Canadian history.“It was really rewarding,” said Shane Weatherill, who spent 18 months assembling the rocket with three other Calgarians. “It was really neat to see it fly and really cool to see all the people out to watch it and enjoy it.”People stood at least 500 metres away from the rocket to watch it launch.Weatherill said they went through a 10-count countdown process and slammed the button to begin takeoff. Despite a few seconds delay, Kronos E finally ignited into action.A blazing pink-coloured fire was seen briefly before a giant column of smoke was seen high in the sky. In about a minute and a half the rocket successfully flew about 2,440 metres into the heavens before the rocket’s multiple sections drifted back to Earth by parachute.Weatherill first started flying model rockets as a young teenager and has been working on high-powered rockets over the last two decades.“I really enjoy building something that works,” he said. “You’re building this device that is fully functional like a real rocket would be and, in fact, other than size there isn’t a lot of difference between the rockets we build and some of the rockets that have been used for science.”He said the Saturn V is considered to be the flagship rocket and while it has been replicated in the U.S., he has never seen it done on Canadian soil.“It was an absolute monster of a rocket,” said Weatherill.“If you look at pictures of it, at the very, very top there’s a little cone. That little cone was where the three astronauts were. Almost the rest of that monstrous vehicle was fuel and that’s something that really hit home for me, at least when we were building.”The rocketeer, alongside fellow seasoned flyers John Glasswick, Ian Stephens and David Buhler built the Saturn V mockup in Buhler’s garage in Beddington Heights.
(L-R): Ian Stephens, John Glasswick, David Buhler, and Shane Weatherill move a scale model rocket in a recent photo in northwest Calgary neighbourhood of Beddington. The group has built a 1:20 scale flying model of the Saturn. The four are involved with a planned launch in June 29th 2019 near Lethbridge, Supplied/ David Buhler ORG XMIT: s9_f4ceJqCGKs8KOH7Xz
After a year and a half they transported sections of the giant rocket in three vehicles to the launch site where they re-assembled it with a battery of avionics, computers, recovery systems and five solid fuel rockets packing enough power to hoist an adult male 2,500 metres into the sky.However, and in accordance with Canadian law, the rocket launched with no live payload on board.Weatherill said one of the most rewarding aspects of the launch is how much attention it gained outside of the rocketeering community, which includes about 200 active flyers across the country.He’s optimistic the grand spectacle will attract new hobbyists.The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is Saturday, July 20.Here’s a Graphic News infographic showing how the real Saturn V rocket carried astronauts to the moon back in 1969 (click on image to enlarge):