This brilliant article from the Rocketry Planet has been in my bookmarks for a few months now, just waiting to get posted while on the back burner. It is all about how M and N motors (with a thin layer of rocket sprayed over them) are inching closer and closer to that 10 mile mark. Now with some really incredible motors, such as the N1100, it seems as if 50,000 feet is going to become routine in time. If an N can do this, can P and Q motors be far from scraping 200,000 feet some day?
"Four years ago, James Dougherty didn't know the difference between a G80 and an M2500...
Today, Dougherty is among a handful of hard core, high-power rocketry enthusiasts — in the United States and abroad — who... believe they can clear 50,000 feet, or higher, on a single N. That's an altitude nearly two miles higher than commercial jetliners typically fly, and close to four miles higher than the peak of Mt. Everest. This is the realm of the stratosphere, where thunderstorms are born and the air density is nearly one-eighth that found at sea level."
Chasing the N record: Pursuing stratospheric dreams by Mark B. Canepa
(Video of a CTI N1100 flight)