LDRS39 on the Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a densely-packed salt pan in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. The property is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Federally classified as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area, the Bonneville Salt Flats is a 30,000-acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin in Utah. “Bonneville” is also on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to land speed racing. The salt flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with total area coverage of just over 46 square miles. Near the center of the salt, the crust is almost 5 feet thick in places, with the depth tapering off to less than 1 inch as you get to the edges. Total salt crust volume has been estimated at 147 million tons, or 99 million cubic yards of salt.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are comprised of approximately 90% common table salt.

Whatever you’ve heard about the Bonneville Salt Flats, it is probably true. The vastness will humble you. The Bonneville Salt Flats are one of the most unique natural features in the United States.

Attending the largest and last armature high power rocketry launch on the Bonneville Salt Flats was an historic opportunity for our students. This was the last time that the FAA will grant a waiver for a sport launch on the flats. The National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and Tripoli Rocketry Association, the two national sponsors of LDRS39, chose UROC (Utah Rocketry Club) to host the largest launch of the year. It is indeed a prestigious honor for UROC and for us to be able to attend.

The students were able to witness not only the natural splendor and uniqueness of the flats, but watch some really cool flights, and talk with the vendors and the fliers about their rockets, high power rocketry and the science behind this great hobby. We saw high altitude attempts, supersonic flights, scale models of military rockets and even a German V2, Mercury Redstone and a Saturn IV. Kind of like experiencing history.

Even saw some KATO flights (Catastrophic failures).

A fun and educational time was had by all.

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