Rocket Launch to Kick Off Space Week

Dr Heinrichs

Dr. John Heinrichs, Chair of FHSU Geosciences

The annual community rocket launch kicks off Space Week at Fort Hays State University from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Ellis County Fair Grounds near the rodeo arena.

FHSU’s Science and Math Education Institute (SMEI), Department of Geosciences, Forsyth Library, the Astronomy Club and the Department of Teacher Education are co-sponsoring the week’s activities as part of the global celebration that is Space Week.

Dr. John Heinrichs, chair of the Department of Geosciences, told Hays Post that the most important aspect of Space Week is to continue to inspire and educate students, community members and children.

“What we do in space is directly connected to, not just jobs, but things that are going to benefit us. So it gives us a chance to talk about; why are we sending probes to Mars and Jupiter and Saturn, and why are we studying galaxies and all these kinds of things. And what are the questions that come up when we look at these objects, what questions do you ask?”

Heinrich said that to help get people back into the hobby-mentality of building things and generating a hands-on interest, Dr. Paul Adams with SMEI and Forsyth Library have worked together to provide the FHSU Maker Space as a place to “invent, investigate and innovate.” Tools and materials to assemble 50 model rockets for the rocket launch are available in Forsyth’s Maker Space for a donation of $10. The Maker Space, in room 020, is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The annual community rocket launch is open to all ages. In case of high winds or inclement weather, this event will be canceled.

Other events the public can take part in during the week include:

  • The observatory in Tomanek Hall will be open from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 7 and 8.
  • Dr. Simonetta DiPippo, an Italian astronaut and astrophysicist, will be presented in a live stream broadcast at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Forsyth Library to discuss “why the Earth is such a special and rare planet among the Solar System planets.”
  • Dr. Heinrichs will be hosting a Science Café to learn about NASA’s Curiosity Rover at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Gella’s Diner, 117 11th St.

Dr. Heinrichs wants everyone to attend the rocket launch and other events regardless of background, education level or age. He says this is the perfect way to get someone exposed to what could be a life-long interest.

“Come out and get inspired. Come out and get fired up about space again. A lot of the older people know what it feels like to be fired up about it. Share that with someone that doesn’t what it is, which are the kids. They don’t know what it’s like. They’re fired up about video games. Give them something real to get fired up about.”

  • John Heinrichs

    Due to the high winds today, the Community Rocket Launch is postponed until next Sunday (October 20) at the same time (1:00-3:00 PM) and location (the Ellis County fairgrounds near the rodeo area.

  • John Heinrichs

    Sorry, folks… The reschedule date for the launch is Sunday, October 13.