A few weeks ago, the makers of water-rocket launcher the Aquapod sent me a review copy of their device. It’s a plastic tripod with a bike pump nozzle and a pressure valve to prevent your pressurized water bottle from exploding on the launch pad. A string and simple latch hold the bottle in place, and a tug launches the bottle up to 100 feet into the air.
One fine autumn afternoon, several of my NCSE colleagues and I headed out to test the Aquapod in a nearby park. There’s nothing like people fussing around with strange equipment to draw a crowd, and we soon had a dozen or so people, ranging from about 4 to a few early teenagers and several parents, watching the test. After the first successful launch, all the kids wanted a turn, and many swore they’d ask for one as a present this year.
As you see in the video above, put together by my colleague Steve Newton, there were some technical difficulties along the way, but once we got a low enough angle on the string, it wasn’t hard to launch repeatedly, and to great joy and amusement by the assembled kids.
When the weather warms a bit, I’ll see about disabling the safety valve and refining the shape of the water bottles to improve launch characteristics. This is necessary, of course, to fully test the important scientific insights of Intelligent Falling.