October Sky

 

Transcript of October Sky

HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM, WEST VIRGINIA, 1957

Four high school students set out to build rockets after being inspired by watching the Soviet-launched sputnik cross the night sky.  While their first launches are failures, they experiment with new fuels and rocket designs. After they complete several successful launches, the local paper runs a story about them. However, they are arrested – accused of having started a forest fire – with a rocket that went astray.

MISS RILEY, TEACHER

Why don’t you let the boy defend himself?

MR TURNER, PRINCIPAL

And in the second place, this rocket proves nothing. You’ve already admitted having lost a number of your rockets. You cannot prove conclusively… that another one of them didn’t start that fire

HOMER HICKAM

Yes, I can.

MR TURNER

Are we to conclude, Mr. Hickam, that since leaving school, you’ve not only become an expert in rocket science, but in the field of trigonometry?

HOMER HICKAM

I didn’t say that I was a rock…

MR TURNER

Obviously, you learned more… in the coal mines than you did in high school.

[Students Chuckling]

MISS RILEY

Let the boy talk. Go ahead, Homer.

HOMER HICKAM

Now, that fire was near Welch, just under three miles from our launch pad. And at the time of the fire, the best that we could do was 1.2 miles… which is exactly where we found that rocket, Mr. Turner. See, Mr. Turner, that rocket fell for about 14 seconds, which means… that it flew to an altitude of 3,000 feet… according to the equation… “S” equals one-half”A” “T” squared… where “S” is the altitude, “A” is the gravity constant… or 32… and “T” is the time it took for that rocket to come back down. Velocity equals acceleration times time.

QUENTIN

Get him, Homer, get him.

HOMER HICKAM

Are you following this, Mr. Turner?

[Students Chuckling]

MR TURNER

All right, we’re all duly impressed. But do you mind telling me, if you did not start that fire, who did?

At the police station.

[Phone Ringing]

O’DELL

What is it?

QUENTIN

Whatever it is, i-it’s ingenious. The fins are spring-loaded.

MR TURNER

That isn’t a rocket at all. It’s an aeronautical flare. There’s an airport here in Welch. It’s right above where the fire started.

Mr. Hickam, report to my office as soon as we return to school. You do intend to enter the county science fair, do you not?

HOMER HICKHAM

Yes, sir, we do.

MR TURNER

Well, if you intend to represent Big Creek, you’re gonna have to be enrolled as a student at Big Creek.

[Engine Starting]

ROY LEE

“Prodigenous.”

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