the launch crates 2:
many metres of match? 3:
Under the World Record rules each rocket had to
be individually counted twice by independent counters to ensure
the declared number being launched was correct. Each frame was
first divided into nine squares with string, and then each rocket
within each square counted and marked with a pen by one of the
counters, observed by their partner, until all rockets within
a square were marked. The second counter then repeated the exercise,
putting a second mark on each rocket, with the first counter observing.
It was soon evident that this approach was going to take longer
than the time available before the scheduled launch so plan B
was put into action. This involved both counters working together
and counting as one of them marked the rockets and then checking
that their individual totals tallied for each square.
At the end of counting the official number of
rockets that had been loaded was 56,649. Phew!
With e-matches wired in to remotely set the rockets
off, the crew retreated to a safe distance. At just after 9:30pm,
Professor Lowry pushed the button. An initial wave of rockets
rose, as pictured in the launch photo below, then a second much
larger wave burst forth which prompted the majority of the crew
to drop to the ground whilst rocket sticks rained down everywhere!
Within seconds all that was left was a bonfire as every frame
had burst into flames under the intense heat generated by the
launch. Later analysis concluded that the first wave was from
the Heras panel, followed by a much larger wave from the frames
which were more tightly packed in.
Only four rockets were found unfired afterwards
and a new World Record of 56,645 rockets launched in 30 seconds
was later ratified, partly on the grounds that as the rockets
were consumer rockets they would not normally be expected to launch
within 5 seconds of being lit.
Now, there are rumours that there is to be an
attempt to launch 120,000 rockets to set a new record at the end
of August 2008. If it happens your reporter will be there, so
watch this space...