Friday, July 30, 2010

Rexus 1 - Student built sounding rocket

I came across this project quite by accident, showing that there are indeed many areas on the internet that remain to be explored. Even after browsing for rocketry web pages since the late 90s!

"The REXUS (Rocket EXperiment for Upcoming Students) sounding rocket for testing a new type of parachute and carrying an experment module with experiments from students at the Space Engineering Education in Kiruna was launched from Esrange at 1023 UT on 4 December 1995. The rocket, an Improved Orion, was 5.22 meters tall with a launch mass of 519 kg, a payload mass of 103 kg and it reached an altitude of 89.4 km.

This was the first Swedish student rocket and its name has lived on in the more recent European series of student rockets."
Rexus 1

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

IR footage from ballistic missile

"Thermoteknix MIRICLE TB2-30 Thermal Camera footage on board Ballistic Missile Defense during BMD testing. Ends abruptly with Missile Intercept."

Experience this video in a more trippy format if you dare.

Sony rocket project launches!

"After seven months, an indefinite weather hold and several launch delays, the Rocket Project team successfully launched a 29-foot, 1,100-pound, two-stage rocket. Stay tuned for more from Black Rock, Nevada."

This launch looks strangely slow. The actual configuration is not clear, but it sounds like this was 3x P to one O. Performance remains to be seen, but altitude does not look like space based on this single video. However, the quality of the performance here is hard to understate. A successful launch with a rocket of this size is really something. All of my fears about failures and the team never getting to launch were, I am happy to report, blown apart by this launch. There were two launches, and while this one seems to have worked very well (into the coast phase), the other only had 2 of the 3 first stage motors burning and crashed. For the Sony launch, what was recovery like? What was the configuration, and performance here? Lots of questions left, in time they will be answered.

We are all looking forward to data and onboard footage!

Congratulations are in order for:

The Rocket Mavericks

Thanks due to Sony for funding this project. Next time please cut back on the product placement, that is not how funding science usually works. A simple Sony logo on the rocket and a link or two on the web page (and free laptops to each student) would suffice.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

X-15 video from takeoff to landing

"This joint program by NASA, the Air Force, the Navy, and North American operated the most remarkable of all the rocket research aircraft. Composed of an internal structure of titanium and a skin surface of a chrome-nickel alloy known as Inconel X, the X-15 had its first, unpowered glide flight on June 8, 1959, while the first powered flight took place on September 17, 1959. Because of the large fuel consumption of its rocket engine, the X-15 was air launched from a B-52 aircraft at about 45,000 ft and speeds upward of 500 mph. The airplane first set speed records in the Mach 4-6 range with Mach 4.43 on March 7, 1961; Mach 5.27 on June 23, 1961; Mach 6.04 on November 9, 1961; and Mach 6.7 on October 3, 1967. It also set an altitude record of 354,200 feet (67 miles) on August 22, 1963, and provided an enormous wealth of data on hypersonic air flow, aerodynamic heating, control and stability at hypersonic speeds, reaction controls for flight above the atmosphere, piloting techniques for reentry, human factors, and flight instrumentation. The highly successful program contributed to the development of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo piloted spaceflight programs as well as the Space Shuttle program. The program's final flight was performed on October 24, 1968."

T = 0 on the Sony rocket project

Mini-make talks rocketry

"Did you know you could be a rocket scientist in just one day? Well, a hobby rocket scientist anyways! The field of hobby rocketry is huge, ranging from $5 mini starters to multi-thousand dollar custom made giants that can fly thousands and thousands of feet. Today we'll show you enough to get you up in the air and crashing in no time!"

Some guidance would be good. For example, gluing the motor in the rocket is a waste of a good rocket. And also it should be stated that fins must always go at the rear of the rocket and must number 3 or more, and must be large enough to ensure stability.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sony rocket project - 11 hours away from T=0

Like Sony laptops, these glasses are shinier than the rocket that sent men to the Moon.

A modest setup for such a potentially record-breaking launch. Hopefully they have good camera coverage!

Updates include a video explaining why the 2 year delay:

And a grain test:

This is a very exciting event, and obviously everyone is hoping for a good launch and safe Max-Q.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vintage onboard rocket footage

Thermosphere Contraction

"(CNN) -- An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently shrank so much that researchers are at a loss to adequately explain it, NASA said on Thursday.
The thermosphere, which blocks harmful ultraviolet rays, expands and contracts regularly due to the sun's activities. As carbon dioxide increases, it has a cooling effect at such high altitudes, which also contributes to the contraction.
But even these two factors aren't fully explaining the extraordinary contraction which, though unlikely to affect the weather, can affect the movement of satellites, researchers said."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sony Rocket Project


After months of waiting for good weather,good wind sheer and proper air clearance to come together, the team is set to launch. Mark your calendars for Thursday, July 22. Stay Tuned."

Great news from the Sony Rocket Project team! I hope them the best of luck, and hope that they update the web page with lots of footage, images, and data once the flight does happen.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Almost H

"RMS-29/40-120 motor just tested at 150 N-sec with a 1.17 sec burn to bump up the propellant to enter the 'H' power range!"

"We will be running more tests on the possible 'H' reload for the RMS-29/40-120 motor hardware this week and if successful will submit for certification ASAP."

"Based on the burn time and total impulse, somewhere in the H165-H180 range."

See the static test here.

Ares V Payload

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lutetia seen up close for the first time

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at

The image with Saturn is very fun. This object is large enough to have significant gravity, this may be a nice place for humans to visit some day. Obviously Ceres is the star, but this is a major object as well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rosetta flyby live coverage starts around 12:00 EST

Watch live streaming video from eurospaceagency at

"On 10 July, ESA's Rosetta will fly past 21 Lutetia, the largest asteroid ever visited by a satellite. After weeks of manoeuvres and a challenging optical navigation campaign, Rosetta is perfectly lined up to skim by at 3162 km at 18:10 CEST.

Rosetta is expected to pass Lutetia at a relative speed of 54 000 km/hr, when both are located some 454 million km from Earth. As Lutetia is a major scientific target of Rosetta's mission, most of the orbiter and lander instruments will be on for flyby, studying the asteroid's surface, dust environment, exosphere, magnetic field, mass and density.
The OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) camera system is expected to obtain visible-spectrum images before and at closest approach. The powerful imaging system is operated by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. Although most scientific observations will be performed in the few hours around closest approach, several instruments will be on several days before or after." - ESA

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flash video of nuclear tests from 1945 on

1945 - 1998

"This piece of work is a bird's eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rush - Countdown

"COUNTDOWN from the 'Signals' cd by Rush. On April 12, 1981, Rush was invited to NASA to watch the launch of the first Space Shuttle Columbia. They were so impressed and inspired that they came up with this song and video to pay tribute to NASA astronauts Young and Crippen, and the whole space program. I recall being at a Rush concert during the Signals tour back around sometime in 1983 and watching them perform this song. When the song reached the point where the countdown begins prior to liftoff, the giant screen was showing the exact same footage as the music video, and the stage was filled with smoke(dry ice) to simulate the launch sequence on stage. It was an awesome experience which I will never forget. Those of you who saw this know what I am describing."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nuclear tests in space and near space

There have been several posts (1 2) recently about the Starfish Prime test, a 1.4 MT device detonated at about 400 KM altitude. This traces back to an NPR story that (very) loosely relates to fireworks and the 4th of July. As always, NPR is among the best radio stations on the air today or ever.

If you are into high altitude nuclear tests, here is a great video:

"Nukes in Space" provides an interesting overview of the development of the military space program of missiles and space-based nuclear weapons testing with spectacular, never-before-seen images.

Starting with the V-1 and V-2, this film takes you through missile development of ICBM's with nuclear warheads, the Cuban Missile Crisis through anti-ballistic missile systems and what implications the they hold for the future of our nation's security.

During the heart of the Cold War, the United States and the former Soviet Union launched and detonated a combined total of over 20 thermo nuclear weapons in the upper atmosphere and near space region of earth in an effort to test the effects of launching an offense as well as countering an offense. Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis!

Almost unknown to the public, much of the information on theses tests has been kept secret for over 35 years until recently, when newly declassified test footage and secret government documents obtained from both countries reveals everything from the ICBM to outer space testing to ABM.

From filmmaker Peter Kuran, creator of the award-winning film "Trinity and Beyond" .

Narrated by William Shatner

Music performed by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra

© 1999 VCEinc. Running Time: 52 minutes

I am sad to report that I "borrowed" this video as a torrent download, but if you have some money on hand it is worth the purchase. I do not know who the suave narrator is, but his voice is nice and oddly familiar.