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FIRE & SMOKE!     Waving USA Flag 2 - Animated

July 2021


Happy Birthday U.S.A.!  God Bless America!




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The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) 

Part 1



Every year the National Association of Rocketry sponsors a national rocketry competition known as: The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC)

Per NAR: “The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an aerospace design and engineering competition for teams of U.S. secondary school students (6th through 12th grades) run by the NAR and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).


“Teams can be sponsored by schools or by nonprofit youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H, or Civil Air Patrol (but not the NAR or other rocketry organizations). The goal of TARC is to motivate students to pursue aerospace as an exciting career field, and it is co-sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers, Estes Industries, the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and NASA.


“The event involves designing and building a model rocket (650 grams or less in weight, 650 millimeters or more in length using NAR-certified model rocket motors totaling 80 N-sec or less of total impulse) that carries a payload of two Grade A Large eggs (oriented sideways) for a flight duration of 41-44 seconds, and to an altitude of exactly 835 feet (measured by an onboard altimeter), and that then returns the eggs to earth safely, without cracking them. Onboard timers are allowed; radio-control and pyrotechnic charges are not.  The rocket must use body tubes of two different diameters in its structure.”


Due to covid, this year, instead of one large competition at a single launch site, teams that made the TARC Finals competed from 11 sites across the U.S. and The Birmingham Rocket Boys (BRB) was honored and excited to be one of eleven NAR clubs hosting TARC’s National Finals Competition! 


With the help of several members from NAR and NAR club, Huntsville Area Rocketry Association (HARA) BRB hosted a regional launch at our home field in Birmingham, Alabama.

Scroll down for  PART 2


Looking for something entertaining and fun to read?

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Rocket Babe: Reflection


Prefer Paperback? No Problem!

Signed / personalized paperback copies of Rocket Babe - Dust Storm, Rocket Babe - Fallen Angel, Rocket Babe - Ant Men and Rocket Babe - Reflection are all available directly from the author!

Books are great gifts for any occasion! Holidays, birthdays or just because!

Dust Storm $10.00
Fallen Angel $12.00
Ant Men $13.00
Reflection $13.00

Standard book rate shipping: $4 for 1st book; $1 for each additional book per address in the same order. Please allow 7-10 days for shipping, longer during the holidays.

*Special "Set" pricing! Get all 4 books for $46.00 includes shipping within the continental U.S.! Saves over $10 off the regular price and shipping!

*Shipping outside the USA available. Contact us for a postage quote before placing your order.


Send your email order to Verna at: with BOOK as the subject.

List each dedication separately and clearly. Be sure to include the full shipping address.

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Above you see a rare photo of Dave Miller, appropriately dressed in black as owner of the clandestine black ops organization known as Sirius Rocketry! What does he do in his spare time? He reads Rocket Babe, what else?

That's a nice looking Cestris Fighter he's holding too! Get yours from


Verna Starr Cestris Fighter!


This is our favorite Sirius kit, the Cestris. The kit is intended to fly on a single engine but it was easily modified to a 3 engine cluster complete with Verna Starr fighter decals, also available from Sirius.



Just click the BLUE link below the banner!




She'll go with you anywhere! Kevin, owner and moderator at the Alien Soup  sci-fi forum, enjoys Rocket Babe - Dust Storm between innings at a recent ballgame!


Visit Kevin at Alien Soup and tell him Verna sent you!


TARC Finals Part 2   


For 2021, over 600 middle and high schools teams entered the competition by building and flying their own rocket to an altitude of 800 feet, for a flight duration of 45 seconds with the goal of safely returning two raw eggs without breaking them. 


One of the teams preparing their rocket. 


With a total of $100,000 and a sponsored trip to Europe to compete in the International Championship, the competition is fierce, with hundredths of a second separating many team scores.


The top 100 teams compete in the finals and BRB was asked to host 10 of those teams from our region.


On June 12, 2021 a total of 10 teams met at the BRB home field: 7 high school rocket teams from Alabama, 2 from Georgia and 1 from Tennessee.


Birmingham Deputy Director of Youth Services Mr. David Dada, from the Mayor's Office, greeted and congratulated the teams for their achievements. Also in attendance were four NASA Engineers from Huntsville, Alabama to assist in coordinating, scoring and monitoring the competition. FOX 6 and NBC 13 News sent reporters to cover the event.


It was a great day for the high school teams competing and flying their rockets as well as the City of Birmingham and BRB.

I am very pleased to share that according to NAR Final Scoring, two teams that flew with BRB finished in the top 10! Russellville City Schools (Team 1) Russellville, Alabama, finished #5 and Tharptown High School, also from Russellville, Alabama, placed #9!

My thanks to NAR and BRB Founder, Ron Witherspoon, for stats and information shared in this month's, Fire & Smoke!






Bones says...

"Nolite Timere!" 


Verna & Randy's Rockets is proud to have been featured by:


Darrell Mobley's Website Review on Rocketry Planet


Dick Stafford's The Original Rocket Dungeon


Apogee E-Zine Peak Of Flight issue #155


April 2006  Finishing Touches
And Virally In Ezines Like:
Hobby Media Italy


You never know who will show up on Fire & Smoke!


Tyl never misses Fire & Smoke!


Who do you fly with? Fly with family!




Graphics by Doc's Patriotic Graphics

Thanks for stopping by! Check back soon for a new feature on FIRE & SMOKE!
Verna & Randy

*Don't miss Verna's Photo of the Month


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