October Sky

by Homer Hickam

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What made the process of loading zincoshine laborious in October Sky?

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Like all the other fuels, it was important that the zincoshine be absolutely dry throughout the entire casement.  In order to do this, the boys could only load about three inches at a time and then let it sit for hours to let it dry.  Because the rockets had gotten bigger and bigger, this became a more and more laborious and time-consuming process.

This time, the rocket casement was actually 45 inches deep so Homer had to load the zincoshine carefully, three inches at a time, then let it dry for four hours, then compress another load.  This took him a total of sixty hours, he estimated, and used up the majority of their zinc powder.

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