Monday, January 18, 2010

Rocket Club Grounded in Augusta?

In the News Virginian today is a story about the Augusta county rocket club, Valley Aerospace Team "VAST". Apparently, the clubs launches have been grounded after complaints to the Augusta County Board of Zoning. The complaints were of noise, that the launches scared their livestock, and that the Croft farm wasn't the appropriate site for the clubs activities. The Croft farm spans 500 acres and Mr. Croft, who supports the clubs activities, states, "The cows don't pay no attention to it." Watch a VAST rocket launch here.

Mr. Neff, the clubs president, stated that he nor Mr. Croft had received any complaints in the past about the clubs activities. Mr. Neff states that the first he heard about it was when the clubs permit to engage in rocketry was denied by the county. Mr. Neff is arguing that the club is operating with in the regulations of the state, county, and the National Association of Rocketry safety codes.

I love rocketry, I was a member of the rocketry club when I was in middle and high school. It fueled my interest in science and mathematics. Rocketry is an amazing avenue for young people to engage in rewarding learning activities. It would surprise the average person to learn just how much science and math go on behind the scenes with rocketry. It really gets fun when you design and create your own rockets.

I was surprised by this article especially in reference the Board of Zoning. I am as puzzled as Mr. Neff is on the grounds for the permits denial. I wonder if the Augusta Board of Zoning actually tested and investigated the complaints made by residents before denying the permit.

The club appears to have been founded in 2004 and is a member of the Tripoli Rocket Association and a registered member of the National Association of Rocketry, click here to view their required safety codes.

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