June 3, 2012

Largest Ever UK Rocketry Festival Kicked Off Saturday

Amateur rocketeers from throughout the UK were expected to participate in an four-day festival which kicked off Saturday and was organized by the East Anglian Rocketry Society (Ears) and the UK Rocketry Association (UKRA).

According to BBC News reports published Friday, more than 100 hobbyists were expected to attend the Festival of Rocketry, which was being held near Cambridge. Furthermore, the news organization reports that as many as 150 launches were anticipated, with some reaching heights of up to 10,000 feet.

UKRA council member Ben Jarvis told the BBC that festival, which will also include how-to workshops for aspiring rocketeers, is the result of the merger of two separate events -- the Ears' operated two-day "Big Ears" event and UKRA's annual rocketry event. The decision to combine the two, and create what Jarvis said is most likely the largest amateur rocketry event in UK history, came after the site of the UKRA's event became unavailable this year.

"Early indications suggest up to 150 amateur rocketeers will go to the launch site near Elsworth in Cambridgeshire to launch their craft," the BBC News said. "Mass launches of high-powered rockets are being planned to ensure spectators have a lot to see and one school club will attempt to launch 60 small rockets simultaneously."

"It's going to be more of the big, loud and spectacular rather than anything small going a really long way," added Jarvis, who told the British media outlet that he was planning to launch a nine-foot tall craft which he had built from scratch, and that spectators would be able attempt rocket launches of their own during the event.
The event opened at 10am on Saturday, June 2, and ends at 5pm on Tuesday, June 5. The venue is located approximately 15 to 20 minutes from both the A1M trunk road and the A14, the event organizers said on the festival's official website. Camping facilities, restrooms, and refreshments are available.