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Mousenik Launch Site

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Tucked away on a back road leading to another back road near Lansing, Minnesota, there's a little triangle where a one room schoolhouse probably stood at one time. While driving by, I noticed something interesting there. I circled around looking for a place to pull in, but I had to park on the road (which was no problem because nobody else was on it while I was there). I found my way onto the "island" and walked over rough ground to see what in the heck it was. Mousenik! I found Mousenik! I swear, I must be nuts, but I live for such moments. Have you ever heard of Mousenik? Austin Rocket Society of Austin Pacelli and Brownsdale High School students launched homemade rockets, and in 1957, received national recognition on ABC-TV when one particular launch was filmed at the Red Rock proving grounds” with Mower County Sheriff Reninartz and 30 cars of people. A 4-foot, 10-inch rocket with a mouse on board climbed into the sky to 1,642 feet at 221 mph. The mouse  did not survive the landing in which case lead to the humane society’s intervention and an appearance in Mower County Courts for reprimand. The mouse was buried on the Aaby farm. The plaque at the lauch site reads: "On 5 Jan 1957 at the Red Rock Proving Grounds ¼ mile south of this marker the Austin Rocket Society launched a 4' 10" rocket "Mousenik II". The rocket carried a live mouse as a passenger. The launch received international attention and coverage including ABC-TV's David Brinkley, MN State Senator Ed Thye and Capt. Charles Woody of the DOD Missile Office. The "Mousenik I" rocket achieved and altitude of 1642 ft and a velocity of 221 mph. In 1958 the Austin Rocketry Society set and altitude record of 3250 ft. The Austin Rocket Society was founded in 1955 by Richard King, Leonard Paul Germer, and Gary Solyst. 1957 members included Calvin Aaby, James Budd, Gordon Cassidy, Phil Grunewald, Carl Harwood, Gary Hitzemann, Wally Jensen, Steve Johnson, Bob Maile, and Robert Simon, ages 14 - 18. Science Advisor Sister Duns Scotis the Pacelli High School Science Teacher." Below are a number of interesting news articles the regarding Mousenik rocket launch: Nov 14, 2009 : Pacelli's rocket boys recall Mousenik days Mar 11, 2007 : NARCON 50: Back to the launching pad.

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