Just as, in order to promote aerospace careers to young men and
women, the U.S. Navy sponsored the
National Aeromodeling Championships (Nats)
in conjunction with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the
Defense Department decided to promote science interest in the nation's
youth through a program titled "Youth
Science Corps." Army, Navy, and Air Force commands would all
participate, per the plan. Unfortunately, things didn't progress
much farther than the planning stage, although big things were envisioned.
This article from the August 1958 edition of American Modeler
provides some insight into what had been planned. When searching
online for more information on the Youth Science Corps, an article
from the Cincinnati Tribune appeared titled "Armed
Services to Help U.S. Youth in Study of Science."
Expert Advice for Amateur Rocketry
By Kendall K. Hoyt
Military people at thousands of sites across the country may
now take part in local efforts to encourage technical studies. Responsibility
has been accepted by the Department of Defense.
Colonel Hoyt was the organizer of the Civil Air
Patrol cadet program, 100,000 strong, in World War II. He urges
the same plan for a national Youth Science Corps. Recent Washington
decisions have cleared the way for local action.
The Army, Navy, and Air Force in turn will notify all their offices
and commands. It will take time to shape a uniform working plan.
But the door is open for help and advice to anyone interested
in amateur rocketry or other scientific studies within the knowledge
of military men in the area.
These advisers will not be permitted to conduct rocket firings
unless there is proof of scientific value in each case. Amateur
groups can reach this stage by study and hard work. Many safe types
of experiments can be developed.
Meanwhile, rocketry is so complex that beginners can well avail
themselves of all the help they can get, to learn the fundamental
principles, and not run off impatiently to play with dangerous forces.
What can be done now?
Military aid can include lectures, training films, instructional
material, safe demonstrations, and visits to defense installations
such as non-secret rocket sites.
Defense industries are encouraged to cooperate. They need scientists
and engineers as much as the military. Missile contracts are spread
among hundreds of companies. There is something to see in almost
The new Defense Department policy has resulted from many appeals
for help in youth rocketry. The three services asked the Department
what they should do. Now they can act. Local groups .may take these
1. Get Together-To avoid pestering busy officers with too many
requests it is wise to form a committee representing youth groups,
schools, civic interests, and others most interested. There may
already be a local action group formed by the President's Committee
on Scientists and Engineers, at work since 1956 to encourage technical
2. Find Who Can Help - Not every military post can help effectively;
few can do the whole job. An area program may draw aid from several
military sources as well as from schools and youth leaders. Bear
in mind that the armed forces are in no way taking over direction
of youth training or organizing; they are merely extending aid to
responsible organizations that ask for it. Reserve officers, who
are civilians with a military status, can be a good connecting link.
3. Use Existing Groups - It should not be necessary to form new
organizations for rocketry and allied studies; the existing ones
have the backing and know-how for the job. There are 18,000 clubs
with 400,000 members of high-school age, affiliated with the Science
Clubs of America. Such groups as the Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol
also may help. None of these groups is ready to offer a full rocket
program. But military cooperation can fast change the picture.
4. Find Facilities - Canvass the area to find the best meeting
places. Re sources include thousands of facilities for the part-time
training of local reservists. Assembly rooms and training aids,
unused a large part of the time, may be borrowed.
5. Plan a Program - It is easy to get crowds of young people
to come to a meeting or two, attracted by the glamor of rockets.
But they will not keep coming unless there is a good program of
interesting information and activities.
What to Study. Rocketry is a complex subject. It takes knowledge
of a wide field of technical subjects. The problem is to find someone
in the area competent to advise and instruct; someone for each of
The fundamentals of physics, backed by high school mathematics,
must be grasped to understand why a rocket flies and what great
forces may be let loose, even by a small model. Advice from a rocket
scientist is best, but a professional engineer or physics teacher
can get the idea over.
To prepare for rocketry, it is well to review the whole sweep
of science - the first principles of, physics, chemistry, electronics,
theory of flight, and structural design. After that, some choice
of specialties may be offered, to include:
1. Chemistry - Some concept of the reactions of chemicals that
produce rocket thrust are necessary to compute how much or what
kind of fuel should be used, and to avoid the dangers of mixing
explosive or inflammable materials.
Shown with her scale model of the Vanguard is
Carolyn Shafer, 16, of Knoxville, Tennessee, an 11th grade student
at the Central High School. Carolyn's model is of metal, hinged
in two sections to show the interior parts which are made from balsa.
It received an award at the local Science Fair.
2. Electronics - For remote control firing, tests, guidance,
and telemetering, even model activities can take a lot of advanced
3. Aeronautics - Flight principles obviously apply, whether for
a manned airplane or an unmanned space vehicle.
4. Engineering - Structural design, use of materials, construction,
and handling require precision at all stages.
A good local program might start with a few weeks of over-all study;
then divide into four groups for the above subjects, but with joint
projects and experiments combining the specialties of all groups.
Students with enough interest and energy may shift between groups
and learn all four branches. Many attracted by rockets may find
their careers in one of these fields as a result.
Youth Science Corps. Local initiative along these lines may lead
to a national Youth Science Corps, now favored by many authorities
and brought closer by the Defense Department approval of aid by
This would not be a new youth organization but a standard "package
of training" that can be used by existing groups - Science Clubs,
Boy Scout troops, and others.
The nation must have more scientists and engineers. Russia has
800,000 compared with our 750,000 and is gaining year by year. Regardless
of Russia, the growth of American industry demands many more technologists
than we are producing.
Without waiting for a uniform national program, whatever may
be done anywhere by rocket enthusiasts for real learning, rather
than unsafe thrill seeking, will deserve the best help that government
and private sources can provide. Under the policies approved from
the White House down, the help is there for the asking.
Model rocketry comic