This story is about a high school kid, from west Virginia who dares to dream big. This was the time when Russia launched the first satellite Sputnik and Americans were angry about that, but for this kid this sight of a satellite moving across sky came a big aspiration, a moment of connection with oneself when one realizes what exactly one is supposed to do in his life. The village was called coal wood owing to the main profession being mining coal and as the norm all kids were supposed to work as miners after their necessary schooling. As he watched the satellite streak across the sky, he had a dream of building a rocket which could take that satellite and put it in it's orbit. The aspiration was so profound that he made friendship with a nerd guy in his class with whom no one ever spoke or mingled. Thhey were a group of four friends, who managed to procure the material for their experimental rockets from unused rail tracks etc. They made numerous unsuccessful attempts. They used all lengths, all sorts of fuel etc. The rockets either flew to short distances or catch fire and burst. Failure are the stepping stones of success indeed. These experiments lead them to understand what makes a rocket actually fly. Apart from experimental failures, he had to abandon his rocket flying aspirations, as his dad got seriously injured while working in a coal mine and he had to work in coal mine for keeping his family financially well. Those innocent eyes always looked up the sky when going down in a coal mine elevator. In spite of all these hardships, due to the help and encouragement from his teacher he participated in a science fair, demonstrated his rocket building , flying fundamentals and won first prize too. This involved many schools and he came out in flying colors with that first prize and getting scholarship offers from various universities.
I was especially moved by the advice his teacher gave him- "you don't have to prove anything to anybody, Now, go launch yourself a rocket". This kid was Homer Hickam who went to become scientist at NASA. He dreamed big, worked hard towards it despite all hardships, faced the numerous failures in experimentation with his rockets and learnt how to fly rocket correctly.
So, a big dream needs lot of smart work, patience and recovering from failures too !
A must watch for those who often use the term rocket science to imply a tough thing or tough science. You will realize rocket science is just awesome !