Friday, April 30, 2010

Sony Rocket Project

Some recent searches to this page

ikaros light sail
high-power low-energy-consumption rocket (sounds very cool!)
100 meter telescope
convert phantom 4000 to aerotech (where did you get this Phantom 4000?!?)
sounding rocket elliptical orbit lunar (Nice!)
small solid rocket motors students
n prize plans
CTI N 10000
Aces High Light Aircraft (?)
manned venus fly
rocketry q motor

In addition, this page was linked from an article about scram jet testing: Posted in the Coober Pedy Regional Times (from Australia.)

If you did any of these searches, please come visit and tell us in a comment what you were working on!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rocket Relics

Tons of great images here, mostly of small rocket motors, including a gold plated Surveyor Lunar Lander motor.

Rocket Relics

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First light sail (solar sail) spacecraft: "Ikaros"

(Not in English.)

(Short simulation of deployment process, without sound.)

(Detailed simulation of deployment process, no sound.)

"A rocket carrying the Ikaros -- an acronym for Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun -- will blast off from the Tanegashima space centre in southern Japan on May 18. "Ikaros is a 'space yacht' that gets propulsion from the pressure of sunlight particles bouncing off its sail," Yuichi Tsuda, space systems expert at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), told journalists. The flexible sails, which are thinner than a human hair, are also equipped with thin-film solar cells to generate electricity to create "a hybrid technology of electricity and pressure", Tsuda said. "Solar sails are the technology that realises space travel without fuel as long as we have sunlight. The availability of electricity would enable us to navigate farther and more effectively in the solar system." Ikaros, which has cost 1.5 billion yen (16 million dollars) to develop, will be the first use of the technology in deep space, as past experiments have been limited to unfolding its sails in orbits around the Earth, said Tsuda. JAXA plans to control the path of Ikaros by changing the angle at which sunlight particles bounce off the silver-coloured sail. Ikaros will be a short cylindrical shape when it is released into space and will then extend its 14-metre (46 foot) sail, JAXA said."

This is a great step forward. On this scale, light sails offer little in the way of competition with chemical rockets. However, there is no way to eventually use the very real potential found in more advanced light sail spacecraft, unless people start building them and experimenting with designs. The theory is already mature (it has been since the mid 1980s, when much work was done to consider a Comet Halley rendezvous mission), and now it needs to be put into practice.

It would be nice to practice beaming energy to spacecraft as well. RTGs are great, but offer pretty low energy densities. The raw material, plutonium dioxide for example, is also in rather short supply right now. Nuclear fission is one possible answer for deep space, and solar panels will continue to work for space inside of the asteriod belt, but microwave beaming of energy may prove important in deep space. JIMO, a spacecraft that was planned to carry a nuclear reactor to produce the huge wattage needed to power radar (which would in turn scan the moons of Jupiter for underground water), could potentially use a large but gossamer microwave antenna that would accept energy beamed from near the Earth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sony Rocket Project

Now, two weeks later, still no update on this project. There have been good windows since the launch date, but no launch was attempted from what I gather here.

One would think that, with all of those Sony Vaio Z series computers with Intel Core i5 processors, they would be able to launch a rocket.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

N 10,000 Drag race

After posting about this new, ultra hot CTI motor, I have been searching for videos of it put into a rocket.

Lots of wind and talking in these videos, but boy that motor is everything I expected!

And here is a cato - shred using this very same motor:

Extending the Reach of Exploration - Panel breakout session

"Each day brings new discoveries about the world around us. What shape will future space exploration take? How will we go further and faster to deepen our understanding of space? John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, moderates "Expanding our Reach into the Solar System," one of four "breakout" sessions of the April 15 "Conference on the American Space Program for the 21st Century" hosted by NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Holdren and a panel of experts discuss how President Obamas bold, new course for NASA will facilitate humankinds ongoing pursuit of knowledge about our sun and planetary neighbors and beyond."

Agree or not with these ideas, it is good to hear.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launches on an Atlas V

Classified spacecraft is in space (don't ask what part, that is classified.) You know, for a secret program, we keep hearing and seeing quite a bit about it!

Check out how much the exhaust expands as altitude increases, and also how the Centaur upper stage burns for about 13 minutes.

Atlas V

Incredible Solar Dynamics Observatory videos

Nasa Science News Page

Wiki entry on the SDO

R hybrid

More images

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New reloads

Today, a shipment from arrived. This web page is a great source for very cheap motors, up to G impulse, with prices often half of those found on every other web page. Granted, they often do not have all of the motors in stock, but for under $100 shipped I got 4 G motors, 2 large F motors, and 3 small F motors (plus some igniters.) That is a great deal, and will cover my low power range for the rest of the flying year. (Some H motors will be on the way soon after, for the high end.) The motors are:

2x G76-7G
2x G53-5FJ
2x F52-5T
3x F12-5J

Soon to arrive are 4 Pro-x 38 H motors. For a total of almost $300, these had better last the rest of the year, if not into next year even! (That would be 1 H, 1 G, and 1 F at each of 4 more launches.) To help pace things out, I will also bring out the 4 x 24mm rocket and fly some D motors. And as always, there will be the Estes level kits.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rocketry with a soundtrack

Weather hold, still

Hopefully this wont become yet another rocketry page that just goes dead for a few months. With this much money behind it, that seems unlikely. But still, why no further updates? And why no launch attempt? Are they having trouble with the FAA?

Weather conditions

Article from outside of the rocketry community.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Planetary Entry Parachute Program (PEPP) Aeroshell

"NASA's Planetary Entry Parachute Program (PEPP) aeroshell, tested in 1966, was created to test parachutes for the Voyager Mars landing program [later changed to Viking]. To simulate the thin Martian atmosphere, the parachute needed to be used at an altitude more than 160,000 feet above the earth. A balloon launched from Roswell, New Mexico was used to initially lift the aeroshell. The balloon then drifted west to the White Sands Missile Range, where the vehicle was dropped and the engines beneath the vehicle boosted it to the required altitude, where the parachute was deployed."

There was a post last year about this at TORD.
Additional info at Gunter's space page.
There is even a modification to an Art Applewhite Kit at EMRR's.

I have recently come across videos of PEPP tests on Youtube. They are pretty wild:

These tests are operating in near space, above 100,000 feet. Two of the videos look almost identical, but this probably makes sense because they use the same timing in each. The clouds are different, and while one is a supplement to 1499-B X2231 sub paragraph D, the other is for 1500-B X2231 sub paragraph C! (Joke.)

Mars is a great place to explore because it has an atmosphere that can save a ton of fuel when slowing things down. Under many scenarios, it takes less rocket powered Delta V to land on Mars than on the Moon! (However, the great distance makes Mars trips still considerably harder because of the amount of life support, food, and fuel needed for manned missions.)

There are some nice pictures of this project, not to mention many other very interesting and strange projects, over at IFO.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The recovery parachute collection

I recently decided that I have way too many parachutes. The problem is, most kits still come with one in them, and if you buy the same kind of kit, you wind up with the same kind of 'chute over and over again. Any advice on what to do with these? They are not worth that much money... do you think anyone at a launch would want to trade 5 'chutes for say a few motors?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh that's right, rocketry is great

RRS Boosted Dart Article Online

Loyal readers may remember a post from exactly 1 year ago today, all about the RRS Boosted Dart. This dart, boosted with an R motor, flew to about 50 miles, nearly hitting space (and it would have been the first by over 5 years.) Check out this initial post for videos from the flight, and a histogram showing the velocities and altitudes over time.

A PDF version of the magazine article, again one of my favorites, is now online:

Boosted Dart Article

This PDF has tons of info on how the motor was designed, tested, built, and also how the dart was made. The story is pretty exciting, including a high speed car chase towards the end. After the flight (and recovery), they go over the data and attempt to figure out the apogee.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two stage Nike Corona

"Edited video from an amateur rocket launch outside Amarillo Texas (LDRS 25) in June of 2006. The rocket featured is two stages, 17ft. tall, and weighs ~130lbs at takeoff. It has flown twice successfully to ~15.5 K ft and is now retired. The rocket motors are solid composite and manufactured by Cesaroni Technologies Incorporated (CTI). The rocket has dual redundancy electronics for all flight events (stage separation, stage ignition, drogue chute deployment and main chute deployment). The altitude, velocity, and acceleration values you see in the video were all recorded by an on board data logging flight computer. Enjoy, the rocket took about two years to design and build from scratch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CTI Pro-X N-10,000

How insane is this motor? A 1% N, with about 2600 lbs of peak thrust (2300 average), that burns for 1 second. Granted this is not quite the O10,000 (with less than half of the burn time), but the power here is substantial. This 10 KG motor, in a 10 KG rocket, should have no problem breaking mach 2. One can only dream of seeing one of these fly at a launch (because one doesn't have enough money to buy one of one's own.)

The Pro 98 lineup

Sony rocket project on hold

Obviously it is not so easy to fly high altitude rockets, even with Sony behind you. But hopefully this project will get flown soon, and with lots of video footage posted! (And I fear that the footage will be locked down by Sony to make commercials and such, when really it should be posted freely online. But that remains to be seen, so I will wait and only later get really angry and cynical.)

Previous posts re. the Sony project

This is a good page for info on the rocket design.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First launch of 2010

Today was a very nice day for a launch. I had initially planned to launch yesterday, but the wind forecast, at 15 to 20 mph, was just too high to risk a 90 minute drive each way. Today was breezy, but generally nicer. There were, however, some pretty long walks.

There were some great flights, several K and L (and possibly M) flights, and a few serious failures (catos and shreds.) The flight to see all day, was an L3000 that was projected to scrape 2 miles. The owners had to wait for an FAA window, and this only helped to build the anticipation. Sadly the motor failed and the rocket may have shredded a bit. The power in that motor, even with a failure, was quite clear. This was in a fairly large rocket (ca. 4 or 5 inch diameter and 20 lbs.) Can you imagine what a similar L3000 would do inside a 54mm shadow aero kit?

I was able to launch 6 rockets, all of them were recovered after successful flights. Here is the rundown of the day:

The first to go just had to be the star of the fleet; the Thunderbolt 38mm minimum diameter fiberglass rocket. This flew on a smoky but fast G131 with a 5 second delay. The flight was gentle but firm, with this nearly full G motor burning out in about 1 second. The rocket flew straight and true, and looks ready for some real level 1 power. The delay was a bit late, and the rocket came down pretty fast even with a 30 inch chute. There does not appear to be any damage, particularly at the fin can and the coupler, both areas of concern. Still, this rocket needs another coat of epoxy here or there. I love rail guides, I think this is the way to go in the future.

Next came the LOC Graduator. This rocket is about 12 years old, and has flown somewhere between 40 and 50 times. Yes I tell everyone about this and always say it here, but this rocket is worthy of a formal introduction each time. It has survived an H238 at Blackrock, a nosedive on a D12, and most recently, a flat-spin recovery.

Today, the Graduator flew on a G106 Skidmark. Loud! Recovery was solid, but the rocket did drift pretty far. And it landed gently in a drainage channel in the sod farm. The epoxy overcoat prevented any of the nasty sludge from soaking into the airframe, so it was just a matter of wiping the rocket off with a paper towel. This is one reason why I swear by the whole epoxy thing.


The fiberglass Drago kit flew next, the third and final large flight for me today. This rocket was not ready to fly as of Friday night, but the 24 hour delay allowed me enough time to finish it. I used CA to apply launch lugs (temporary) just this morning, they dried on the drive over. This rocket flew on a G131, quite a powerful little thing this is! Altitude was probably between 1400 and 1600 feet. Somehow this kit wound up lighter than the Graduator! This was higher than expected, and recovery was very far downrange; almost to the end of the farm property. Because of the drainage channels, one cannot simply walk across the farm. One must chose the right field, and cross into it near the road, and only then is it possible to walk east for the recovery. Despite the great distance here, there is one great advantage; the relative lack of trees. On the flat farm, it is often possible to see a rocket from a mile away, even on the ground! Below is a Google image of the field, with a blue square at the general launch area, and two red Xs to show where many rockets were landing:

The round trip for one of these rockets approaches 1 mile. Clearly this is just about the best possible area for flying rockets within 100 miles of New York City (and then some.) These farms are surrounded by more farms, and since many of them are sod, they are soft and very flat.

The Drago kit drifted more than 1000 feet out into the field, but I watched it fall and then was able to see a white dot way out by the tree line. After a while, I began to worry that it was not my rocket, or a rocket at all. Above is a picture from half way out, looking back at the flight line. And below, from the same spot, is the rocket in the distance:

Next, it became clear that this was indeed a rocket. Slowly, the color of the skyangle 'chute came out.
Recovery was good, zero damage on this barely finished kit. More epoxy is needed on one fin, holes need to be filled near the fin roots, and the bottom needs a final coat of epoxy as well. Launch lugs or rails will be added as well.

An Art Applewhite hourglass was flown next. This 24mm kit is always fun because it tends to take off very quickly indeed, particularly on F motors. Here it flew on an F24, no ejection charge needed!

To finish a great day of flying, I put out two small rockets. The wind was picking up, and it began to look a bit like rain was moving in. Here we have the Art Applewhite paper 3FNC kit, a free kit available online.

The little paper rocket (made from blue card stock) flew on a cute little 1/2A3, the last 13mm motor I could find. (Must order more!) The custom rocket, built along with the two and three motor cluster rockets, all made from a bulk educators pack from Estes, flew on an A8-3. Both flights were nice, the custom rocket popped a fin off but it can be fixed.

Overall, this was a great start to 2010.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Article on project farside

"Space flight enthusiasts talk confidently about trips to the moon, but so far no rocket, even an unmanned one, has climbed more than 0.25% of the distance—about 600 miles, unofficially credited to the Lockheed X17. The first vehicle to make a really big stride into space will probably be a cheap, unstreamlined, unglamorous, four-stage job assembled out of familiar rocket hardware by Aeronutronic Systems, Inc., a Ford Motor Co. subsidiary at Glendale, Calif. Its gimmick: it will start at 100,000 ft. from a balloon."

Time Magazine

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Multiple rocket-gazms - Pro 29 Vmax motors!

I keep trying to stop using so many exclamation points while blogging, but it is just very hard to do with news like this!!!1 At under .5 sec burn time, these are fast even for Vmax motors. (Granted that is probably associated with the lower total impulse class, smaller motors tend to be faster burning. But a G motor with 65 lbs thrust? That is huge, and it is a bit more accessible than the Warp - 9 motors which are 38mm and don't offer pyrotechnic ejection from what I have seen.)

New 29mm lineup


*Robot zombie voice.

New Esrange sounding rocket video!

"This seven minute video clip was recorded on board the Maser-11 sounding rocket that was launched from Esrange at 0600 UT on 15 May 2008. Maser-11 carried experiments for reserach under microgravity. The vehicle was developed by the Swedish Space Corporation for the European Space Agency ESA. The rocket reached 258 km altitude and provided six minutes of microgravity. The first rocket in the Maser series was launched from esrange on 19 March 1987."

I found out about this video at The Rocketry Planet.

In the thread, someone says that this rocket used a Yo-Yo despin mechanism. If so, and it does sound like it rather than some active cold gas system, it is really fast! On that note, even the sound track is very interesting. That supersonic, then hypersonic wind sound is very similar to hobby rockets as they get faster and faster.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Deep Space

Deep Space by Apogee Space Books is on the way!

Like many space and rocketry books, this one was marked down from $35 to $2. My shelf now has a nice little stack of Apogee books, they make a great collection. Each comes with some plastic disk in the back called a "Compact Disk." Now I do not know what these things are, or how to use them, but it looks shiny!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The rocketry work continues!

The Thunderbolt 38mm nose cone got the first of several coats of paint, using the fire escape painting chamber. After this, the cone will be sanded again, given another coat or two, and then covered with a thin layer of clear epoxy. It will then be waterproof and crash-proof.

Last night, the MMT for the Drago kit was finally installed, this time properly with the temporary guidance of the lower centering ring, which has since been removed. Later, the fins were sanded and tacked in place using the same thin CA. Tomorrow, the whole assembly will be internally reinforced with a liberal application of epoxy. Then, the bottom centering ring can be installed and the rocket will be ready to go! (Well after I buy launch lugs or rail guides which were not included in the kit.)

The Drago nosecone now has the bulk-plate installed with CA, and will get a heavy layer of epoxy next, probably along with all of the other applications to save epoxy. This nose cone has a substantial seam along the shoulder and frontal area, this needs some sanding down. This rocket may not be ready to fly at the next launch, but the Thunderbolt will be! Any ideas about using a fast G motor for a fiberglass Thunderbolt? It would be a pro 29 3 grain G131 Smoke motor, this has about 40 lbs of peak thrust - and the delay would be short, or about 5 seconds. Hopefully this will be enough, I do not have any H motors on hand right now.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

3 Beagle rockets - 12 Q motors!

It appears that the 4Q Beagle rocket is the same as the project Sony rocket.

Now this is good news: this is a cool design and if they have some money behind it, and possibly attempt more than one flight (with more than one rocket), the odds of a good flight are greatly improved. It looks like we may have three! "Dick has built three of these rockets..." Source

It is great to get this kind of attention to the hobby, and a great oppourtunity for these students, but the outside world always tends to really mess up when it comes to rocketry. They are too often misleading, sometimes even just lying: NZ team claims space launch. The most annoying part is when Sony suggests that Sony computers were used to make this rocket. The design begins and ends in the human mind, while computers may have run software that just about any PC made after 2000 could have run. Sony gave the money and web page, which is great. But it is worth repeating that Sony makes arrogant and misleading statements about Sony computers having more power than the first rocket to reach the moon. Why can't they simply sponsor it, run the web page, get their name on the rocket, and leave it at that?

Anyway, here is a picture of this rocket:

Now this would be a small S to a Q flight. That would be a record, and if it flies well, could break the 72 mile altitude record!

There are a bunch of images showing the assembly of one of the rockets on the Sony flicker account.

The coupler looks very strong indeed! hopefully those fins are very strong also, because this is a likely failure point, particularly in the upper stage. Burnout altitude is unknown, but even at 60 or 70,000 feet, the mach numbers will mean a nasty Max Q for the sustainer. The predicted altitude, just above 500,000 feet, indicates a likely burnout of mach 6 or more. Can the fins and fiberglass airframe handle it?

It has not been confirmed, but the rocket in these pictures looks like it may actually have P motors installed right now. It is hard to tell, since I seldom see motors this large in person.