Hundreds are expected to flock to Pawhuska this weekend during the High Frontier 14, an annual amateur rocket launch soaring over the Pawhuska Municipal Airport on Saturday and Sunday. Rockets will start taking off at 9 a.m., and admission is free.


There will be plenty of competitions and door prizes and even a special “night launch” around 8 p.m. Saturday. Tulsa Rocketry co-founder, Hal Ellis, provides additional details.


1. What makes this year’s rocket launch a must-see event?


Our event has been the largest rocketry meet in the state for many years. and based on early registration numbers, we believe this may be our largest event ever. So spectators who come out will get to see the largest collection of amateur rockets we’ve ever hosted.


2. How many rockets are expected to launch this year?


We’re anticipating approximately 300 rocket launches over the two-day period. Many of these rockets will be built by kids from all over Green Country but many will also be the larger rockets that can reach 10,00 to 15,000 feet in altitude.


3. Where are some of the participating rocket enthusiasts from?


This is our 14th annual event and it now attracts participants from all over Oklahoma as well as the surrounding states. We have flyers registered from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.


4. Describe what will happen during the “night launch” on Saturday.


The night launch on Saturday night will feature rockets that have been specially outfitted with LED lights, which will make them visible during flight, even in total darkness. This is always a lot of fun for the participants and has proved very popular with spectators as well. After all the Night-rocs have flown, the Astronomy Club of Tulsa will host a free “Star Party” which will provide an opportunity for everyone to view the stars and planets through some very large telescopes.


5. What will the model rockets be constructed from?


The smaller model rockets are constructed from lightweight cardboard tubes with plastic or balsa-wood nose cones and fins. The larger high-power rockets require stronger materials in order to withstand the aerodynamic forces of flight and are generally constructed of fiberglass.


— Emily Droege