Friday, October 30, 2009
If you read this high power rocketry blog regularly, you know by now that this was my all time favorite rocket. Indeed as soon as I get back down to DC (have not been since taking rocketry on as a new hobby in the late 90s), I plan to get to this rocket and take detailed pictures. Here are two previous posts on the topic: Project Farside 1 Project Farside 2
In short, this was a late 1950s project to send a tiny payload to very high altitude using a 4 stage rocket and a large balloon. The results were limited, but it seems that the last two launches did get solid altitude, perhaps as high as 3000 miles. These rockets were also on the threshold of being able to make orbit, which means they are a good example of something that amateur and hobby rocketry people could try today.
Here are three new images from a launch of one of these rockets. The 4 stage stack (with 10 motors total) simply flew up through the balloon on the way to space. To use hobby rocketry terminology, the rocket was just under 2000 lbs when launched, and it initially accelerated under the combined power of 4 R 160,000 motors. That would be a (small) T 640,000. In other words, tons of thrust.
Now to be fair, I can't perfectly confirm that these images are from a farside launch, other than to say that the magazine returned them for the project farside search. It seems likely that they are the very same, because the video in my first post matches these images pretty well.
One source states that this balloon was about 200 feet in diameter when fully inflated at altitude. So that is something to keep in mind - the rocket stack looks pretty small for good reason (even with exhaust and blurring), because the balloon was quite large indeed. Yet in the video (PF post 1), the the farside rocket passed through the balloon in less than a second.
This was good timing because there is an ongoing discussion of rockoons at the rocketry planet: