Tuesday, May 31, 2011

General Electric Moose: Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment

"MOOSE, was originally an acronym for Man Out Of Space Easiest, that was later changed to the more professional-sounding Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment, was a proposed emergency "bail-out" system capable of bringing a single astronaut safely down from Earth orbit to the planet's surface."



Shuttle at night

Noob: "Why are we spending so much money in space when we need it down here?"



Monday, May 30, 2011

Bono Mars Glider

"In 1960, Philip Bono, a Space Vehicle Design Specialist with the Boeing Airplane Company Aero-Space Division, envisioned a Mars spacecraft that outwardly resembled the U.S. Defense Department's X-20A DynaSoar single-seat orbital glider, which was under development at this time (image at top). Bono's Mars glider would, however, be large enough to support an eight-man crew. The flat-bellied Mars glider would measure 125 feet long and 95 feet across its delta wings. Bono, like many Mars exploration enthusiasts in the early 1960s, optimistically targeted his expedition for the favorable 1971 Earth-Mars transfer opportunity, when the energy required to reach Mars would be at a minimum."

At Beyond Apollo

Friday, May 27, 2011


See how NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission to collect samples of the asteroid 1999 RQ36 will happen in this SPACE.com infographic.

Convair Nexus

"LEO Payload: 450,000 kg (990,000 lb).

Status: Design 1962.
Gross mass: 21,820,000 kg (48,100,000 lb).
Payload: 450,000 kg (990,000 lb).
Height: 122.00 m (400.00 ft).
Diameter: 45.70 m (149.90 ft).
Span: 50.00 m (164.00 ft). "


Endeavour - STS-134

"A camera mounted on each of space shuttle Endeavour's solid rocket boosters capture the launch of the orbiter on STS-134 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on May 16, and documents the SRBs' separation and subsequent landing in the Atlantic Ocean."

Posting will likely stop until after the long weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Home-made rocket almost hits cameraman

I don't endorse anything about this video, but it is fun to watch.

Toy robot in [near] space

"The robot and rig reached a height of 95,000 feet above earth to film the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth, before the pressure popped the weather balloon and it came back down to earth. We then found the robot and camera in a field 11 miles away using a mini GPS tracker."



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

SR-71 Afterburner Flame

Somehow this is my most popular post of the year. Where are all these readers coming from? Over 1000 views of this post alone since April.

Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft autocannon

"FPSRussia gets his hands on a Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft autocannon — the most powerful machine gun in the world that a civilian can own."

Hmm where have I seen this before?


Reg. US. Pat. Off.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Space Balloon - HD Cam filming from the Stratosphere

"The balloon went to an altitude of more than 100,000 ft.
(to compare: a big airliner has an flying altitude of 35,000 ft.)

It traveled approximately 80 miles before the balloon burst and the payload fell to Earth by parachute.

The GoPro HD survived ambient air pressures as low as 1/100th of an atmosphere, temperatures as low as --60°C.

All you need need is a Camera, Weather Balloon and Duct Tape ;)"

Archive of scientific illustrations

It has already been established that science owns your face and may have impregnated your cousin and not called back. And here is just one more reason why:


Laser achieves 26 terabits per second data rate

(Not the actual laser, just a cool looking one.)

"Researchers have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using a single laser: 26 terabits per second.

At those speeds, the entire Library of Congress collections could be sent down an optical fibre in 10 seconds.

The trick is to use what is known as a "fast Fourier transform" to unpick more than 300 separate colours of light in a laser beam, each encoded with its own string of information.

The technique is described in the journal Nature Photonics."

You may be asking: "What does this have to do with rocketry?" First of all, everything in the world has something to do with rocketry, so stop asking questions like that. But more specifically, lasers are a useful method of deep space communication. Particularly for missions past 100 au, and interstellar missions. Furthermore, lasers can be a useful way to communicate with other lifeforms around the galaxy. The Mercury Messenger mission was able to send a laser pulse over a distance of about 25 million km. This was received on Earth, well over a minute later.

An article on laser space communication.

BBC News

Journal Article

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lockheed Martin

"Lockheed Martin is currently developing its technology solution for Space Fence, a program that will revamp the way the U.S. Air Force identifies and tracks objects in space.

Space Fence will use S-band ground-based radars to provide the Air Force with uncued detection, tracking and accurate measurement of space objects, primarily in low-earth orbit. The geographic separation and the higher wave frequency of the new Space Fence radars will allow for the detection of much smaller microsatellites and debris than current systems. Additionally, Lockheed Martin’s Space Fence design will significantly improve the timeliness with which operators can detect space events which could present potential threats to GPS satellites or the International Space Station.

Space Fence will replace the existing Air Force Space Surveillance System, or VHF Fence, which has been in service since the early 1960s. The new system’s initial operational capability is scheduled for 2015.

With more than 400 operational S-band arrays deployed worldwide, Lockheed Martin is a leader in S-band radar development, production, operation and sustainment. The Lockheed Martin-led team, which includes General Dynamics, AT&T and AMEC, has decades of collective experience in space-related programs including sensors, mission-processing, cataloging, orbital mechanics, net-centric communications and facilities."


Yes, rocket nozzles can be art

"Sometimes I get rather unusual requests. In this instance this is a rocket nozzle. My job was to make it appear as if it had been used & had the high heat pattern it would have after being burned. This nozzle was used in a display."


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Military jet with large flame exhaust

Anyone have an ID on this one?

SpaceLoft XL-5 flight video

The associated news story

This is a CTI S50,000 motor, I wonder how much such a thing costs? Stage it to a Q for a mission to 200 miles perhaps? (Funny how my first instinct is, after a high performance amateur rocket flight, to think of ways to make it go higher.)

You can read more at The Rocket Dungeon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nuclear Weapons as Rocket Propulsion Method

Before Project Orion, there was "On a method of propulsion of projectiles by means of external nuclear explosions." It looks like Stanislaw Ulam was the first to seriously suggest nuclear pulse propulsion, in 1946.

PDF of 1955 Document

Robert DeHate 2 stage - P10,000 - N4,000

Robert has flown several very large two stage rockets. Here are two previous posts describing his projects in more detail:

O to N Flight
P to N Flight

Tim Covey's O Hybrid - Balls 16

"Not in bed with your wife, man..."

"I'll take this over any woman!"

In most situations, this would seem ridiculous. But an O hybrid, with a 30 second burn? I understand completely.

Get some!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Timelapse of Tenerife in the Canary Islands

Including some of the Milky Way and stars. Must be a great place to hike!

Two nice onboard videos

RAC3 BRUJA 2 Onboard Video 13,000 feet
RAC4 BRUJA 2 Onboard Video 18,000 feet

Not much info on these rockets, and what is out there is in Spanish. AND they wont allow a blogger to embed the videos. All the same, they are two really nice flights to high altitude. Well worth the look. I get the impression that this is a student group and these are research rockets. If anyone speaks Spanish or is a good investigator, let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Carbon fiber rocket on an N2850

"My carbon fiber rocket with GPS transmission from the prototype G-wiz avionics bay screams to Mach 2.17 on a CTI N2850 motor, reaching about 33K ft. It was a perfect flight, with computer deployed airframe separation at apogee, and main parachute deployment at 800 ft. The GPS readings show us hitting high winds aloft as we drifted back down through 20K ft., which took the rocket horizontally at 55 MPH. But that luckily brought it back closer to the flight line for an easy recovery."

Big motors - static tests

I always wonder how someone can spend the time (and money) on a large P or Q motor, and then not fly it. Even putting it in a giant rocket and getting a few thousand feet isn't really my style, but at least it is going somewhere. A Q motor can hit 100,000 feet! It is also interesting that static tests are not nearly as loud as the same motor in a rocket. Why is this? Perhaps the exhaust is simply pointing up rather than down (towards the crowd) in a rocket. Also, I suspect the airflow over a large airframe (even a thin P motor is going to be 6 inches in diameter) contributes to the sound level. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Giant meteorite creates a bolide fireball over Canada

Project Ganymede - a P hybrid rocket

"This rocket will be a 6" diameter all aluminum rocket similar to the Defiance-H, only I'll use an all aluminum fin can as well as a more elaborate nose cone with telemetry and deployment from an electronics bay in the nose cone. I'll stick with the slip coupler N2O feed design plumbing through an externally activated ball valve. The engine will be designated the HR-6, but I think I'll just include the engine development on this page since it's an integrated design."

Project Ganymede

Monday, May 16, 2011

Burning natural gas sinkhole

"Darvaza, Turkmenistan - While drilling in 1971, geologists tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 70 metres. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, it was decided to be burned off. Geologists had hoped the fire would use all the fuel in a matter of days, but the gas still burns 40 years later. Locals have dubbed the cavern 'The Door to Hell.'"


Space Shuttle Endeavour - Final Flight

I go to work and miss a great launch. This photo looks slightly 'shopped.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Proteus 6.5 onboard video footage

One can see stickers peeling away from the rocket as drag increases drastically. Also, the very end of the coast stage (probably mostly sub-sonic) lasts significantly longer than one would expect. There are two likely reasons for this. Firstly, the rocket is coasting in the rarefied gases of the Stratosphere and experiences low drag at this time. In addition, because this is a large and very heavy metal rocket, it should have a very good mass to drag ratio at these speeds. The Proteus actually coasted for a good minute or so after burnout. Here is a previous post about the rocket:

HPR 09/2010

"Amateur rocket "Proteus 6.5" launches from the Black Rock Desert, 9/25/2010.

Constructed and launched by Jeff Taylor and Curt Newport, Proteus 6.5 reached an apogee of about 75,000 feet ASL. After passing its peak altitude, the rocket deployed a parachute and descended safely to earth where it was recovered to be flown again. Proteus 6.5 is 6" in diameter, 14 feet tall, and weighs about 180 lbs on the pad. Watch for our next flight in the Fall of 2011."

Burnout at around mach 3, apogee early to mid 70s. Would love to see it go up again. How about an N1100 upper stage? Could probably do 150,000 ft with one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Landing on Titan

"This movie, built with data collected during the European Space Agency's Huygens probe on Jan. 14, 2005, shows the operation of the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer camera during its descent and after touchdown. The camera was funded by NASA.

The almost four-hour-long operation of the camera is shown in less than five minutes. That's 40 times the actual speed up to landing and 100 times the actual speed thereafter.

The first part of the movie shows how Titan looked to the camera as it acquired more and more images during the probe's descent. Each image has a small field of view, and dozens of images were made into mosaics of the whole scene.

The scientists analyzed Huygens' speed, direction of motion, rotation and swinging during the descent. The movie includes sidebar graphics that show:

(Lower left corner) Huygens' trajectory views from the south, a scale bar for comparison to the height of Mount Everest, colored arrows that point to the sun and to the Cassini orbiter.

(Top left corner) A close-up view of the Huygens probe highlighting large and unexpected parachute movements, a scale bar for comparison to human height.

(Lower right corner) A compass that shows the changing direction of view as Huygens rotates, along with the relative positions of the sun and Cassini.

(Upper right corner) A clock that shows Universal Time for Jan. 14, 2005 (Universal Time is 7 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time). Above the clock, events are listed in mission time, which starts with the deployment of the first of the three parachutes.

Sounds from a left speaker trace Huygens' motion, with tones changing with rotational speed and the tilt of the parachute. There also are clicks that clock the rotational counter, as well as sounds for the probe's heat shield hitting Titan's atmosphere, parachute deployments, heat shield release, jettison of the camera cover and touchdown.

Sounds from a right speaker go with the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer activity. There's a continuous tone that represents the strength of Huygens' signal to Cassini. Then there are 13 different chimes - one for each of instrument's 13 different science parts - that keep time with flashing-white-dot exposure counters. During its descent, the Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer took 3,500 exposures.

The Huygens probe was delivered to Saturn's moon Titan by the Cassini spacecraft, which is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA supplied two instruments on the probe, the descent imager/spectral radiometer and the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer."

What comes next for Titan? TiME to go sailing.

Atomic energy for the farmer

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Space Death 2 - Onboard

"Space Death 2 flies on an M1550, two K700s, tw0 K540s, and two J570s. Two side boosters drop off after burnout of the two K540 Metal Storms. Nibbles did a ride along and parachuted down as the main deployed"

Soyuz high over Ekaterinburg, central Russia

"Space launch Soyuz rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrom as seen from Ekaterinburg. Distance to launchpad is about 2000 km. I shot it with old Panasonic HDC-DX1 on tripod from my balcony."

This video is not loading right now, so here is the direct link: Live Leak

Exploding transformers

"Several electrical transformers exploded and sparked east of downtown Fort Worth, TX Tuesday night, making the city look like it was under attack.

Although electrical service provider Oncor has not provided an update on exactly what happened, it is presumed that lightning from one of the storms that rolled through Tuesday evening struck one of the transformers and sparked a chain reaction of explosions."

The video is not loading for me right now, so here is the link : Live Leak

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30 min. or less

Estes "Pro Series II" - New rockets and motors

Estes is coming out with some composite motors that look quite a bit like motors from Road Runner Rocketry. But they are being made by Aerotech. Basically, Aerotech has a slightly modified line of motors that are being distributed by Estes. That can potentially be a huge deal for expanding the mid-power part of the hobby. I personally would prefer to see more large BP motors come out, an E-15 for example. That may not be profitable, so it probably will not happen any time soon.

Also, some new rocket kits are coming out:

Leviathon™ PRO SERIES II Rocket Kit - Model #9700
Over 41 inches tall
3.0 inch diameter booster airframe and nose cone

Ventris™ PRO SERIES II Rocket Kit - Model #9701
Over 45 inches tall
2.0 inch diameter booster airframe
2.5 inch diameter payload section and nose cone
2.0 inch-to-2.5 inch transition

Partizon™ PRO SERIES II Rocket Kit - Model #9702
Over 46 inches tall
2.5 inch diameter booster airframe and nose cone

Argent™ PRO SERIES II Rocket Kit - Model #9703
Over 56 inches tall
2.5 inch diameter booster airframe
2.0 inch diameter payload section and nose cone
2.5 inch-to-2.0 inch transition

Check out the new retainer system for these rockets:

I would personally consider getting these kits as long as the prices are reasonable and the parts are of good enough quality. Including a retainer is a nice touch, since most mid power kits do not come with a retainer. Sure that is to "let the user decide on what kind to use." But they always include a parachute with the kit, and now I have about 30.

The Rocketry Planet

Monday, May 9, 2011

BrahMos cruise missile

"BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between Republic of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO-Bangalore) and Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroeyenia who have together formed BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. It is the world's fastest cruise missile in operation.

The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0. It is about three-and-a-half times faster than the USA's subsonic Harpoon cruise missile. An Air launched variant is also planned which is expected to come out in 2012 and will make India the only country with supersonic missiles in all the defence forces. A hypersonic version of the missile is also presently under development with speed of Mach 6 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It is expected to be ready by 2016."


The women of RC


Sunday, May 8, 2011

VISTA fusion spacecraft - LLNL

This is one possible form of future space propulsion.

VISTA – A Vehicle for Interplanetary Space Transport Application Powered by Inertial Confinement Fusion

This plan does not offer exceptional performance, but does offer good performance. (Nothing like the distant future fusion rockets such as Daedalus.) The rocket provided about 100 km/sec velocity change. This is an order of magnitude better than chemical rockets. This project offers a round-trip voyage to Pluto in about 7 years. This is more than twice, more like four times as fast a large chemical-powered expedition of the Battlestar Galactica type. And arguably not more expensive. Thus, laser fusion is a good option for manned exploration of the Solar System. This rocket would not be suitable for interstellar missions; those would still take thousands of years at top speed.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

All the rage in Japan these days...

"Horse gas masks were first used during World War I to protect horses from harmful chemical agents. Horses were the primary mode of transporting men and material to war zones and needed protection from irritating chemicals like chlorine and phosgene, used during that time. The mask on the right is a post war Soviet mask accompanied by a pair of gas proof goggles. Like most horse respirators, this mask was probably used in conjunction with a gas proof cape and leggings. The full head example is Serbian and used for protecting horses against biological and chemical warfare."

It is fascinating to see a war, WWI, where the technology for heavier-than-air flight and chemical weapons existed, but men were still transported by horse.

Three new Art Applewhite rockets (pt. 2)

And here they are, ready to fly. Each kit takes about 30 minutes to finish. The hourglass will be reinforced further because it is to fly on E and F motors. That simply means an additional layer of glue in certain critical areas.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Three new Art Applewhite rockets

To add to my already large collection of Applewhite rockets, including the free 13mm kits pictured below, I have purchased a 24mm long Hourglass and a 24mm Super Cinco, both in orange.

The last Cinco was sadly lost when it fell into a ditch and melted (it was a 100% paper kit.) But before that flight, it had made many others. It is a great looking rocket, with interesting flight performance. That is the hallmark of an Applewhite rocket. I already have a 24mm Hourglass (short) and fly it at least once per launch, but it has become such a regular in the lineup that I have decided to add one more for drag races and to expand the motor list. I had intended to modify and fly this tiny rocket on an F240, but Art informed me in no uncertain terms that it should not fly on such a motor. Recovery would be dangerous as the empty reload is still too heavy. I was personally most concerned about flight stability, strength is also an issue. I will test the rocket with the 3G case for the F240 just to see how it looks and feels, but will NOT fly it in that configuration. Eventually I will have to get the 1G case from the CTI 24mm line to fly the new vmax E motor. That will be a more suitable way to fly the Hourglass.

In addition to these two kits, Art included a free 18mm Turbo Delta Saucer (my first saucer.) Art always includes a free rocket with orders. Will post images once they are done!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Russian ABM - Gazelle SH-08/ABM-3

"The Gazelle (SH-08/ABM-3), also known by its Russian designation, 53T6, is a short-range, high-acceleration interceptor missile designed and manufactured by the Soviet Union.(1) At present, 68 Gazelle interceptors are deployed around Moscow as part of System A-135.

In 1978, the Soviet Union decided to build a new anti-ballistic missile system around Moscow. System A-135 was designed with two tiers of defense: long-range exoatmospheric interceptors and (2) short-range endoatmospheric interceptors. During the late 1970s, the Soviets began testing its short-range interceptor, the Gazelle, developed by the Novator Design Bureau. By 1988, U.S. intelligence sources estimated that the Soviets had manufactured 500 Gazelle interceptors, although some CIA analysts at the time believed that as many as 3,000 could have been manufactured.

By 1988, a total of 68 Gazelle interceptors had been deployed in underground silos around Moscow. Including the 32 long-range Gorgon (SH-11/ABM-4) interceptors, System A-135 was technically compliant with the 1972 ABM Treaty, which allowed a total of 100 missiles. However, a loophole in the treaty allowed the Soviet missiles to protect both the capital city as well as nearby ICBM bases, thus maximizing System A-135’s functionality. Had the U.S. gone ahead with a similar system, for instance, it would have had to choose between defending either Washington, DC, or the ICBM silos in North Dakota: not both.

State acceptance tests of System A-135 were completed by the end of 1989. That same year, the Soviets decided to modernize the system even further to improve its combat performance. Thus, work continued on the new system during its period of experimental use, which lasted until the middle of 1994. At that point, the Gazelles were placed on full combat alert.

As the endoatmospheric tier of System A-135, the Gazelle missiles were designed to intercept ballistic missiles within the Earth’s atmosphere in their final or terminal descent phase. In the event of an attack on Moscow, the Gazelle was responsible for destroying any warheads that managed to evade the long-range exoatmospheric Gorgon interceptors. It served as a last line of defense against nuclear annihilation.

To accomplish this task, the Soviets designed the Gazelle as a high-acceleration weapon, capable of operating at speeds of over Mach 10 and able to withstand G-loads several times greater than those of convention surface-to-air missiles. The Soviets used high-strength, low-weight aluminum and titanium alloys and a special heat barrier to allow the missile to withstand the intense thermal build-up caused by its high acceleration. The Gazelle was equipped with solid-fueled boosters, giving it a range of approximately 80 kilometers. Each missile was initially armed with a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead."

Missile Threat

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Homing Overlay Experiment

"Lockheed Martin Space Systems heritage in missile defense dates back to the first successful hit-to-kill intercept of a mock ballistic missile warhead outside the earth’s atmosphere on June 10, 1984, by the U.S. Army’s Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE). The Homing Overlay Experiment was a series of four missile tests that were conducted in 1983 and 1984 at Kwajalein Missile Range in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. For each test a Minuteman missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., carrying a single mock re-entry vehicle targeted for Kwajalein lagoon more than 4,000 miles away." - Lockheed

"The HOE vehicle was designed to destroy a missile by physically impacting it - a concept known as "hit-to-kill." After separating from the booster, the vehicle would use its onboard sensors to identify and lock-on to the incoming missile and would use other components to direct it to impact. On the last of four HOE tests, a vehicle intercepted an incoming dummy warhead in the first successful demonstration of hit-to-kill technology in June 1984. The United States is now using much smaller hit-to-kill vehicles in deployed ABMs. Lockheed built this HOE test vehicle, and the U.S. Army transferred it to NASM in 1986." - DOD

"In the late 1970s, the development of nuclear-armed ABMs (Anti-Ballistic Missiles), which had culminated in the operationally deployed Safeguard system with LIM-49 Spartan and Sprint missiles, was increasingly regarded as a dead end. The U.S. Army began studies about the feasibility of hit-to-kill vehicles, where an interceptor missile would destroy an incoming ballistic missile just by colliding with it head-on.

The first program, which actually tested a hit-to-kill missile interceptor, was the Army's HOE (Homing Overlay Experiment). The HOE vehicle consisted of the first two stages (Thiokol M55E1 + Aerojet General M56A1) of a LGM-30A/B Minuteman I ICBM, which boosted a large KKV (Kinetic Kill Vehicle) to high altitude. Th e KKV was equipped with an infrared seeker, guidance electronics and a propulsion system. Once in space, the KKV could extend a folded structure similar to an umbrella skeleton of 4 m (13 ft) diameter to enhance its effective cross section. This device, which also had weights attached to the ribs, would destroy the ICBM reentry vehicle on collision.

A total of four intercepts were attempted in the HOE test program. In each test, a Minuteman ICBM with a dummy warhead served as the target. The first attempt on 7 February 1983 missed because a failure in the IR sensor prevented proper target tracking. The next two flights in May and December 1983 failed, too, because of malfunctions in the guidance system. However, the fourth and final test on 10 June 1984 was successful, intercepting the Minuteman RV with a closing speed of about 6.1 km/s (20000 fps) at an altitude of more than 160 km (100 miles).

The successful test came right on time for the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) program, which had been officially established in January 1984. One of the primary elements of SDI were ground-based reentry vehicle interceptors without nuclear warheads. The technology tested by HOE formed the base for ERIS (Exoatmospheric Reentry Interceptor Subsystem), the upper-tier component of SDI's ground-based missile defense." - Encyclopedia Astronautica



Global Security

More images