KLOUDBusters Youth FAQ Page
KLOUDBusters has high-power rocket launches just about every month. Our launch site south of Argonia, Kansas is known as the "Rocket Pasture." Frequently, we get questions from Scout troops, 4-H leaders, teachers, and parents about bringing groups of kids out to the launches. KLOUDBusters has assembled the list of questions and answers below to assist youth group leaders in planning a successful outing for a KLOUDBusters rocket launch.

Q. Can Scout Troops or Youth Groups attend KLOUDBusters launches and can we launch our own rockets?
A. Yes. Launch days that are listed as "Commercial" on the schedule are open to everyone and youth may launch his or her own model rockets on those days. Days listed as “Combined" are limited to members-only launches, youth groups cannot fly on these days.

Q. How much does it cost to launch rockets at a KLOUDBusters launch?
A. There is no charge for launching model rockets with A-G motors, which are the only motors that children 18 years of age and younger may obtain and fly. High power rockets flown by adults have fees and a different set of rules.

Q. Which KLOUDBusters rocket launch is the best one to attend?
A. The annual Distant Thunder launch held each November is our annual Youth Outreach launch. We do some youth-oriented extra things at Distant Thunder and the weather in November is usually cool and pleasant.

Q. Can our group camp on-site and how much does it cost to camp out?
A. Yes, groups may camp on-site at the Rocket Pasture at no cost (i.e. FREE) during KLOUDBusters launches. The Rocket Pasture is not available for camping at other times. Please be aware there are very limited facilities at the Rocket Pasture. We ask that you contact us in advance at youth@kloudbusters.org if you are planning to come to a launch so we can let you know where on the field to set-up your campsite.

Q. What facilities are available at the Rocket Pasture?
A. The KLOUDBusters Rocket Pasture is exactly that ... a pasture. It happens to be surrounded by many, many acres of open farm and rangeland with plenty of open sky above; which is what makes it perfect for launching and recovering rockets. Facilities are limited to portable toilet(s) on site. There is no potable water available. We also ask groups to police the area of trash and debris and to take all trash with them when departing.

If your group desires less primitive camping facilities, the Argonia River Park has showers, water, etc. and is located about 7 miles from the Rocket Pasture in the city of Argonia.

Q. What other restrictions apply to camping at the Rocket Pasture?
A. - No ground fires are allowed. Use a burn barrel or grill.
- Contact KLOUDBusters in advance about where to camp. For some launches, the launch range is oriented differently and we want to help you situate your campsite location clear of the range.

Q. What is the schedule for the rocket launch?
A. The hours (a.k.a. waiver) for the launch will be published on the KLOUDBusters web site. No launches may take place before the stated starting time; nor can they take place after the published ending time. The launch start/stop time is coordinated with and governed by the FAA and is not flexible - no exceptions! The range will not open each day until the set-up is completed; you will hear an announcement stating that launching can commence as soon as all preparations are completed.

Inside the waiver hours, there will be rockets flown, and that is pretty much all we know about the schedule. Individual flyers prepare their rockets for launch at their own pace and various conditions, such as wind, cloud cover, rain, or technical challenges can affect their launches.

Q. What do we do if the weather is bad?
A. We cannot control the weather. If the Rocket Pasture receives excessive rain or snow in the days preceding a scheduled launch and we cannot reasonably access the Rocket Pasture, it may be necessary to postpone (or cancel) the launch. Roads leading to the Rocket Pasture, the pasture itself, and the surrounding fields can become very muddy.

If it starts raining during the launch hours, the launch will be suspended at that point. At that time, we will determine if we try to wait out the rain or shutdown for the day.

High winds also affect our launches. If the forecast calls for winds in excess of 20mph, the schedule might change or a cancellation/postponement may occur.

We will do our best to make public notification via "Latest News" area near the bottom of the KLOUDBusters web site (http://www.kloudbusters.org) if a schedule change becomes necessary. Please check there during the period 48 hours to 12 hours prior to the scheduled launch.

Q. What behavior is expected from children at a KLOUDBusters launch?
A. KLOUDBusters wants everyone to have fun at the rocket launch, but our top priority is the safety of all participants and spectators. There are a few guidelines kids (and adults) should adhere to while at the rocket launch:
  1. Pay attention to and follow all instructions given by the launch personnel over the public address system and at the RSO Safety Check area.
  2. Stay behind the spectator line until Launch Control announces, "The range is safe" and only cross the line to load your rocket on a launch pad or to recover your own rocket.
  3. Never try to catch a rocket or rocket parts falling from the sky with or without a parachute.
  4. Do not pick-up a rocket that does not belong to you unless you have permission from the owner to do so. If a high-power rocket lands near you, please stay away from it. The flyer will want to be the first person to inspect his/her rocket after flight.
  5. Do not attempt to remove any rocket from power lines.
  6. Respect all equipment and property.
  7. Make 'Safety First' the #1 priority while at the rocket launch.

Q. What is the procedure for kids launching rockets during a KLOUDBusters launch?
A. Model rocket flyers should prepare their rocket for launch per the kit instructions. All rockets must have a primary recovery system that includes a parachute or streamer. There will be KLOUDBusters personnel available at the various steps below to assist you; please ask one of them if you need help. Here are the steps to follow to launch your own rockets:
  1. Prep the Rocket. At your work area, install the motor, flameproof wadding, and the parachute or streamer per the instructions. If launching a model rocket motor (A-D impulse black powder motor) you may install the igniter and plug prior to inspection.
  2. Fill-out a Flight Card. Complete a yellow "KLOUDBusters Youth Flight Card" (available at Range Safety Officer (RSO) inspection station) with the rocket information. Please write clearly, so the RSO and Launch Control Officer can read the card
  3. RSO Inspection. Take the rocket in a "ready-to-launch" condition and the Flight Card to the RSO inspection station. The RSO will perform a safety check on the rocket and approve the rocket for flight. The RSO will question the flyer about the rocket and may have safety-related recommendations prior to approval.
  4. Launch Control. Proceed to the Launch Control position and wait in line until the LCO announces that it is safe to proceed onto the range. Pay attention to any launches taking place and most importantly, pay attention to instructions from the LCO.
  5. Rack your Rocket. Upon instruction from the LCO, proceed to an available launch pad, place the rocket on the correct size launch rod, and connect the two alligator clips to the igniter. After connecting the clips to the igniter, make sure the wires are not under the rocket to protect them from the blast of the motor.
  6. Perform a Continuity Check. There is a grey box (the bank box) situated behind each group of launch pads. There are buttons numbered #1 - #8. Press and hold the button corresponding to the pad your rocket is on; one of three lights will light-up: Red='Short'; Yellow='Open'; Green='OK'. If the light is green, you are good to launch, if not, seek assistance solving the problem.
  7. Submit the Flight Card for Launch. Give your Flight Card to one of the launch personnel, tell him/her which pad your rocket is on, and retreat to a location behind the spectator line where you patiently wait for your rocket to be launched.
  8. Launch. The LCO will cycle through the rockets on the pads in order, announcing the flyer and some rocket details, and launch each one in succession. Watch your rocket launch from beginning to end so you can find it.
  9. Recovery. When all the rockets on the pads have been launched, the LCO will announce that the range is safe. At that point, you may go out and recover your rocket.
Any further questions about attending and participating in a KLOUDBusters Rocket Launch may be e-mailed to youth@kloudbusters.org. More information about the launch schedule is located at http://www.kloudbusters.org - click on "Schedule" on the left side menu. While browsing the KLOUDBusters web site, also click on "Spectator Info" for more details about KLOUDBusters launches.

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