DRAIN — Children counted down from 10 to launch rockets on a grass field outside the Mildred Whipple Library on Wednesday as part of the 2019 summer reading program “A Universe of Stories.”

“They really enjoyed it,” Librarian Candy Vickery said. “I’ve taught in Drain for a long time, but I can’t remember the last time we had a rocket launch in Drain.”

A little more than 50 children came out to watch as Brayden Pardun pulled the string to send water-powered rockets, made from 2-liter bottles, flying.

The group then hastily scurried over to an adjacent field to watch the liftoff of a gas-powered rocket.

When the rocket malfunctioned, it gave all children the opportunity to try out the air-powered rockets while Ryan Sisson tried to fix the gas-powered rocket.

Children stepped, and often jumped, on an airbag to send a small foam rocket flying just over their head.

After everyone had a chance to try the air rockets, and Sisson had a chance to adjust the gas-powered rocket, the countdown was restarted for the gas-powered rocket.

Pardun had the honor of pushing the release button and the rocket flew about 100 feet into the air before a parachute guided it safely back to the ground.

“You guys all have promise as a rocket scientist,” Sisson told the children afterward. Sisson is a civil engineer with a love for science.

“I just want to expand their mind and get them thinking about science,” Sisson said. “I really enjoy teaching kids science.”

Before the rockets were launched, Sisson and Vickery gave the crowd some lessons about space and rocketry.

When Sisson asks, “What could slow a rocket down in space?” He got an enthusiastic “Spiderman” as an answer from the crowd.

Children learned that Jupiter was the first rocket launched by the United States, but that China was the first country to launch rockets.

The summer reading program at Mildred Whipple Library will continue throughout the summer with a wrap-up root beer float party scheduled for 2 p.m. Aug. 13.

At all the events, the young readers are able to take home a free book.

Reporter Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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