Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reduce the volume of solid rocket stages

This is a method of reducing volume and perhaps also improving mass fraction by altering the shape of solid motor casings and using parts of the case as the nozzle for the next stage. This design was called Conosphere in a 1972 JPL study. This reminds me a bit of the lower stage Sea Dragon terminating in a conical tank that would sit inside the upper stage nozzle. Arca Haas uses nozzles as the interstage couplers as suggested in the 2nd evolution in this diagram. Perhaps they could benefit from considering the conosphere design, but would that work well with a hybrid rocket stage? Read more about this at The Unwanted Blog.

DAGR Guided Rocket

"The 2.75-inch (70mm) DAGR guided rocket is a precision-strike munition that effectively neutralizes lightly-armored vehicles, rooms within a structure and other high-value targets. DAGR offers strike capability with the reliability of a HELLFIRE® II when increased loadout or reduced weight is a must.

DAGR has proven itself in over 20 successful guided flights—every DAGR target strike has hit within 1 meter of the laser-designated aimpoint. DAGR has hit short- and long-range targets, in both day and night scenarios, and in both lock-on-before- and lock-on-after-launch modes—and has proven accurate from up to 10 degrees off boresight.

Delayed fuzing increases the DAGR rocket’s lethality and reduces collateral damage. The delayed fuze actuation allows the rocket time to penetrate a target exterior before the warhead detonates, ensuring target defeat. The 10-lb warhead can also be set to detonate on impact.

Two DAGR smart launcher configurations allow the DAGR system to be mounted to a HELLFIRE-compatible launch rail or directly to an aircraft pylon—DAGR can also be launched from legacy M260/M261 launchers. The rail-mounted canister mounts to an analog or digital HELLFIRE-compatible launcher and readily integrates with all HELLFIRE platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles and Apache, Kiowa, Little Bird, Cobra and Tiger helicopters.

The pylon-mounted launcher, which features its own strongback, mounts directly to the platform pylon or bomb rack. Launcher electronics provide weapons inventory and other data to the operator. The pylon-mounted launcher enables carriage by a variety of platforms lacking HELLFIRE launchers, including lightweight fixed-wing aircraft, small rotary-wing aircraft and patrol boats, as well as ground-launch pedestals and vehicles.

DAGR has been launched successfully from multiple rotary-wing platforms, including the AH-64D Apache, AH-6 Little Bird and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior."

Team Selene

"Our Mission

Our team name, “Selene” stems both from Greek mythology and Selene, the wife of the team's founder. We have assembled a talented and enthusiastic group of Chinese and German engineers and technicians who are intent upon winning the Google Lunar X Prize. Our goal is to land a remote-controlled lunar rover on the Moon which must then travel a minimum of 500 meters over the lunar surface, while at the same time, sending high-definition images and video as well as other data back to Earth.

Another purpose of this project is to promote greater co-operation between China and Germany, and to foster the exchange of ideas, a process well underway for many centuries.

We seek to dispel the myth that China's design and engineering prowess is merely the product of reverse engineering, too. There are many young, motivated engineers in both countries who are eager to demonstrate that they can succeed in this mission while contributing innovative high technology inventions and concepts to the broader community of space science and exploration as well as providing support to the ongoing humanitarian efforts to achieve better living conditions here on Earth."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Armadillo Aerospace going for space

"Last year we started work on a new vehicle planform, which we're calling the tube rocket. From our perspective it is a Supermod whose 36 inch spherical tanks have been replaced by 15 inch cylindrical tanks with a common bulkhead. Otherwise it is quite similar to our other vehicles; low pressure LOX/alcohol as propellant, regulated helium pressurization, the same type of engine as a Mod, the same engine gimbal and roll vane for guidance and control, and the same computer box and plumbing schematic.

From an external perspective, it's looks like a fairly large liquid fueled sounding rocket. We're using a dual parachute deployment system that would be familiar to anyone in advanced high power rocketry (HPR), adjusted for a rocket that goes rather higher and is quite a bit heavier than most HPR.

We're still definitely working toward a fully reusable VTVL human-carrying vehicle, and the tube rocket acts as a risk reduction step in that direction."


My biggest concern about these competitions is that they focus on Moon landers (a crucial step, and important to work on) but seem to skip the hardest and most important part: actually launching payloads off of the Earth into space and orbit. I suspect that Google picked the lander competition because it is bite sized and produces cool looking footage. Making an orbital challenge, possibly the most important thing Google could do with these teams, would result in lots of crashes. And when it works, the rocket just disappears. In any event, it is good to see this team working towards space.

See more amateur rocketry over at the N prize blog.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phobos from Mars Express Spacecraft

Animation of Martian moon Phobos made from five images taken by Mars Express spacecraft (HRSC camera).
Artificially colorised to approximately true global color. Date 9.1.2011. Rotation at speed ~1°/s.

Get ready for Phobos Grunt!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Arrow camera facing backwards

Travel distance is 145 meters.

Blasting MMO with heat to test near-Sun performance

BepiColombo's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) in the Large Space Simulator at ESTEC, The Netherlands. The octagonal spacecraft is Japan’s contribution to BepiColombo and will explore Mercury's magnetic field. Credits: ESA/JAXA

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Giant 'chute

"The team developing the landing system for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory tested the deployment of an early parachute design in mid-October 2007 inside the world's largest wind tunnel, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

In this image, two engineers are dwarfed by the parachute, which holds more air than a 280-square-meter (3,000-square-foot) house and is designed to survive loads in excess of 36,000 kilograms (80,000 pounds).

The parachute, built by Pioneer Aerospace, South Windsor, Connecticut, has 80 suspension lines, measures more than 50 meters (165 feet) in length, and opens to a diameter of nearly 17 meters (55 feet). It is the largest disk-gap-band parachute ever built and is shown here inflated in the test section with only about 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) of clearance to both the floor and ceiling.

The wind tunnel, which is 24 meters (80 feet) tall and 37 meters (120 feet) wide and big enough to house a Boeing 737, is part of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, operated by the U.S. Air Force, Arnold Engineering Development Center.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is building and testing the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft for launch in 2009. The mission will land a roving analytical laboratory on the surface of Mars in 2010. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology."

Image credit: NASA/JPL/Pioneer Aerospace

Friday, January 7, 2011


With this web page, you can help sort astronomical images. The above picture shows an image of a Hubble observed galaxy (one of thousands.) With simple steps, the user helps describe the object. This kind of system is needed because already we have images of millions of objects, and with future surveys, we will have far more objects to study. There is simply no way that a person can handle the workload. Computer programs will prove helpful here, but humans can also help in this way.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recent searches to HPR

I am happy to report that hits to this web page have increased quite a bit in the past few months. Still painfully slow, but now getting close to 250 hits per day. That is some kind of progress (from the starting point of only a dozen or so hits per day.)

Here is what everyone wanted to see in the past week:

high power rocketry
patriot high power rocket
2 stage high power rocket
high powered rocket launches with r motors
high powered rocketry
high powered rocketry videos
sea dragon rocket
high power rocketry kits
high power rockets
mongoose 98

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Astrobiology" by Jank

Astrobiology went sextuple platinum within 24 hours of going viral on youtube.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Greg Smith's quest to spend even more money on rocket science...

(BTW I did notice the blogspot address there, hawt akshun... what was this blog supposed to be in the first place? Anyway, rocketry is better.)