In the book October Sky, the boys had many obstacles to overcome. The boys lived in a town dominated by the coal mining industry, a career that loomed over them like a dark shadow. The boys had to break away from thinking of coal and look toward other important activities. They had a desire to learn and create, which started their uphill battle. They were not from families with much money. To build the rockets that they wanted, they had to find a way to obtain the money to purchase supplies or scrounge up parts locally. They also knew little about aerodynamics, rocket design, and fuels, and had to learn about rocket building from books.
Homer had a difficult time because his father was against his rocket building activities, and he had to overcome his father’s objection to his desires. In addition, he had to leave school to work in the mines for a while, which for Homer was like a death sentence.
The boys were unable to weld so they resolved the problem by getting Mr. Bykovski to assist them. The boys also had trouble getting the rocket to propel itself as high as the boys wanted it to go. They had to learn more about fuels and adjusting the design. In addition, they had to find a way to make the rocket stay in flight longer. The boys also had to prove that it was not their rocket that had caused damage by starting a fire.