By Jack and Jill Magazine,

Have you ever looked up at the moon and wondered what it would be like to travel almost 239,000 miles from Earth?

On July 20, 1969, for the first time ever, two American astronauts did just that. The mission to the moon took thousands of people at NASA more than eight years to accomplish. But, in just one afternoon (after a quick trip to your local hardware store), you and your kids can accomplish your own mission—learning some handy skills while having fun!

Backyard Rockets - Image 1

You will Need:

  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Duct tape
  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Construction paper
  • PVC glue
  • 6 10-inch PVC pipes, ¾-inch Sch 40 (part A)
  • 2 PVC tees, ¾ x ¾ x ¾-inch Sch 40 (part B)
  • 1 PVC tee, ¾ x ¾ x ½-inch Sch 80 (part C)
  • 9-inch PVC pipe, ½-inch Sch 80 (part D)
  • Scotch tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Drill with ½-inch bit
  • 4¾-inch PVC caps Sch 40 (part E)
  • Tubeless snap-in Schraeder valve (part F)
  • Pliers
  • Bike pump

Let’s Get Started!

1. Cut triangles out of cardboard for fins. Duct tape them evenly around the top of the bottle.

2. Cut an 8-inch circle from construction paper. Cut a slit to the center. Make a cone shape and tape closed. Tape nose cone to the bottom of the bottle.

3. Use the diagram to help you attach and glue the ¾-inch PVC tees (parts B and C) and pipes (part A) together, with the ½-inch end of part C in the center pointing up. The launcher will look like an H.

Backyard Rockets - Image 2

4. Glue the end of the 9-inch PVC (part D) into the tee (part C). This is your launch.

5. Put two pieces of Scotch tape around part D about 1 inch from the tee (part C).

6. Put on your safety goggles. Have an adult drill a ½-inch hole in the center of one of the PVC caps. Smooth any burrs and pull the valve through the hole from the inside of the cap with a pair of pliers until it’s airtight.Backyard Rockets - Image 3

7. Glue the PVC caps onto the ends of the 10-inch pipes.

8. Attach the bike pump to the valve and stretch it back.

Backyard Rockets - Image 4

9. Fill the soda bottle with 1-3 inches of water. Put the mouth of the bottle over the launch tube and push it down over the piece of Scotch tape so it’s tight. Now start pumping!

Backyard Rockets - Image 5

Pressure builds and can’t contain itself as you pump air into the rocket. Just like the pressure of ignited fuel in the tank of Saturn Five (the first rocket that went to the moon), you are creating the same reaction when air and water mix inside the bottle.

Images courtesy of Jack and Jill Magazine

Read full tutorial here….

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