Now here’s a rocket launch that’s overflowing with Christmas spirit.
Engineer and YouTuber Xyla Foxlin (opens in new tab) and DIY rocket maker Joe Barnard, who runs the amateur rocketry YouTube channel BPS.space teamed up to launch an 8-foot-tall (2.4 meters) Christmas tree from the California desert this year and you can watch the “Seasons Yeetings 2022” holiday flight in the video above.
In the 22-minute video (opens in new tab), Foxlin shows how she and a team made what she called a “Christmissile” in three days before taking it out to the Friends of Amateur Rocketry test site in the Mojave Desert for launch. The tree was dressed to the nines, with 300 ornaments designed by Foxlin, lights and a parachute-toting star topper to help it float back to Earth. It was powered by a heavy-duty solid rocket motor that puts my tiny Estes model rockets to shame.
“The tree was placed into the booster with care, in hopes that the motor would launch it into the air,” Foxlin said in her video (opens in new tab), a rocket version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Related: 10 Christmas space facts for the festive season
In a separate 15-minute video (opens in new tab), Barnard shows how he engineered a camera deployment system to film the launch using Insta360 X3 cameras (opens in new tab), which popped out and had parachutes of their own for recovery. He also oversaw the lighting for the tree, which featured sleek color-changing LED strings.
The sunset launch itself is spectacular, with the 40-pound (18 kilograms) tree rising up off its launch rail, then tilting over to one side before deploying its parachute and descending back to Earth.
“It really put the missile in mistletoe,” Barnard said in his video (opens in new tab).
Related: Christmas night sky 2022: The planets pay a holiday visit
You’ll have to watch both videos to see just how awesome the Christmas tree launch was. Foxlin and Barnard joined up with the Reinvented Magazine (opens in new tab), which aims to inspire interest in science, math and engineering among young women, for the launch. The group’s Reinvented Magazine is selling the Season’s Yeeting ornaments (including some made from the tree itself) and mission patches to raise funds for Reinvention Inc. projects.
“Engineering is a whole lot of fun, but it’s extra fun when everybody is welcome in it,” Foxlin said.