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Thorite helps young rocketeers reach for the stars

Thorite helps young rocketeers reach for the stars

Friday 30th September 2011

As part of the recent British Science Festival, which was centred on Bradford University, Thorite organised an out-of-this-world event - "Whoooosh!  The Thorite Rocket Challenge" - for budding local astronauts to design and launch their own unguided missiles and compete for the honour of achieving the furthest flight.

Thorite manufactured a powerful compressed air rocket launcher and supplied competitors with basic plastic tubes.  It was then up to the competing teams to create rockets using whatever materials they could find, including plastic, polystyrene and cardboard.  The event was supported by Bradford Council, Bradford Chamber's Be Involved CSR Engagement Team and Space Connections, an organisation dedicated to bringing space science to local children.

15 teams, including children from Lower Fields Primary School in Bradford where the challenge was held, plus children from other local schools, the Scouts, Barnardos, youth and toddler centres gathered under calm blue skies on the school playing fields between 5 & 7pm to pit their unique space hardware against each other.

Three categories were being contested: The Furthest Flight was won by Lower Fields School's rocket 'Gladius', which soared in impressive 144 metres down range.  The Best Looking Rocket prize was carried off by 'Pippin's Power Rocket' built by Pippins Childcare & Education, while the Booby Prize was awarded to Barnardos Bradford Centre's 'Flying Fish', mainly because flying couldn't really be considered as one of its talents.  Each prize winning team will visit Star Centre in Keighley for a 'space experience'.

A fun evening was had by all, although Stephen Wright, Thorite's Managing Director, was keen to mention the serious side of the event by saying: "It's never too young to involve children in science, and the Rocket Challenge will hopefully plant a seed of scientific excitement and interest in the minds of the children who took part.  I'm sure everyone involved was captivated by the notion of testing their aeronautical skills in an enjoyable way - whether their creations disintegrated on take-off or zoomed spectacular distances.  The looks of anticipation on the faces of the children who were lucky enough to press the launch control button were fantastic and hopefully this will be just the start of a growing desire to learn more."

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