This time, they want to do it big; bigger than before.
“This is a first night rocket launch,” said STAC Vice President Mei Yates. “Basically, we’re wanting to take this launch and make it an opportunity to invite everybody in town and to celebrate Independence Day with us.”
Following the success of Three Rivers High School physics and chemistry teacher Judy Hudek, who in the last two years has spread the love of rocketry to her students, where the groups of students have grown into five teams that have won awards and competed nationally, it made Yates think.
Why not Beeville?
“What I’d really like to see is that we have a team in Beeville,” Yates said.
In the two years since Yates and her husband, William, founded STAC, the club has amassed more than 60 members.
Group members aren’t just Beeville residents either. Members span from close cities like San Antonio and Corpus Christi, all the way to Dallas and League City.
The group, which ranges from ages 3 to 70, is a mixed bag of different skill sets as well.
“The club has an awesome mix of talents,” Yates said. We have military instructor pilots, aircraft mechanics, engineers, attorneys, medical professionals, communication technicians, electronic technicians, computer technicians, software developers, salesmen, finance professionals, business owners, teachers, college students, high school and kindergarten students.
“The cross-age group and cross-background platform enables us to learn from each other.”
The group of 60 plus has a shared interest in rocketry. They now want to share it with the Beeville community on Saturday.
The July Night Rocket Launch kicks off at 5 o’clock at the Beeville Municipal Airport. There will be an opening ceremony, and they are hoping for the national anthem to be played, followed by a kickoff launch.
There also will be a lottery, where winning kids will get on-site training on how to fly rockets, including how to do their own blastoffs.
The event culminates with a lighted rocket launch, courtesy of the STAC Rocketeers.
“At 9 o’clock, we’re going to launch some lighted rockets,” Yates said. “We’re going to have some rockets with lights on and some rockets with a light parachute that comes down.”
The July Night Rocket Launch will be sponsored by Wastequip, which will provide hot dogs, drinks and will purchase educational rockets and mentor young rocketeers.
Other sponsors include VFW, which will perform the honorary graduation ceremony, KRXB 107.1 Classic Rock, Meskeet Recording and Sound and the Alamo Rocketeers. The honorary sponsor is the city of Beeville, for providing the airport property.
The event is free. The club membership is free. And the STAC love of rocketry is shared on the biggest stage.
Yates hopes that the July Night Rocket Launch will not only bring families together for a fun night out, but also educate and pique the interest those have of rocketry.
“We want to be able to introduce rocketry,” Yates said, “but, mostly, the education behind it, to the local community. So, this event is like, ‘Hey, come on in, check it out, touch it and see it.’”
Beeville is slowly growing as a hub for fans of rocketry. Yates believes that the July Night Rocket Launch could be the stepping stone to finally getting a Beeville team.
“I really want to see like, when we have a launch, ‘Hey, Beeville is right in the back yard,” Yates said. “Come on (in), people would drive five, six hours to come down and launch.”
And, maybe, the event can become an annual thing.
“The more interest we have, maybe we can grow bigger even bigger and have a good air show,” Yates said.
Mackey Torres is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5219, or at regional@mySouTex.com.