What made Homer loose his nerve when building his next rocket in October Sky?

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Thankfully for Homer, he didn't loose his nerve but he did lose it.  After getting the go ahead from his dad and being turned loose on the problem of design with every resource imaginable, he and Quentin sat down to work out the math of what they were trying to do.

Instead of just shooting for 30 miles of altitude (basically outer space), they decided to do the calculations that would get their rocket two miles up, approximately 10,000 feet.  When Homer started doing the math, he felt like he was getting it wrong, he felt that he couldn't get the calculations right and therefore he couldn't continue with the design.

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