Sunday, September 30, 2012

Infographic on education to the PhD level

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:

 By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

 By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

 With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:

 A master's degree deepens that specialty:

 Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you're at the boundary, you focus:

 You push at the boundary for a few years:

 Until one day, the boundary gives way:

 And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D.:

 Of course, the world looks different to you now:

 So, don't forget the bigger picture:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Carmack Prize officially won

"To our rocketry colleagues:
 This is our notice of a successful attempt to claim the Carmack Prize for a documented amateur flight above 100K'. Our flight on Tuesday 9/11/2012 reached 104659' AGL as verified by both the onboard Beeline GPS as well as APRS telemetry from the airframe that was streamed in real-time to the APRS database. John Carmack has validated our claim pending publication of our full report by 10/18. Watch for it.

The airframe is a two-stage, minimum-diameter design. Construction is primarily of commercially-available fiberglass components with carbon-laminated fins.
Architecture: Two stage minimum diameter - 4" booster to 3" sustainer
Motors: Commercial motors. Aerotech N1000 in booster staging to Aerotech M685 in sustainer.
25 second total burn time.
Total impulse: 21,650 ns
Length: 126"
Pad weight: 61 lbs
Avionics: (Raven+RDAS, Beeline GPS (70cm APRS), GoPro2 + WiFi BacPac) replicated in booster and sustainer
Payload: Smartphone+sensors with 2m APRS telemetry Launcher: 12' rail"

Continue reading at The Rocketry Forum.

Monday, September 24, 2012

BALLS 21 - CTI N5800 Minimum Diameter

"Don't Debate This" Apogee: ~56kft AGL, Max. vel: M2.9.

This is the same rocket discussed below. This rocket had an aluminum fin canister, and a metal-cage reinforced airframe and nosecone. It was beefy, and so "only" went about mach 2.9 and about 10 miles up. Although that is highly impressive for an N motor, or any motor, two things strike me as more impressive still: the rocket flew without shredding, and it returned great footage of the flight. That is success. It was slightly over built, but survived the flight.

The fins and fin can were made from aluminum, and were welded and then given healthy fillets of Durafix, an industrial product that is half-way between welding and solder in strength and heat resistance. They held up just fine, and probably could have survived up to mach 4, although that remains to be tested. The nosecone shows some signs of heat damage, but survived well. It was composite with a metal tip, and extremely beefy.

See the entire build here.

This is an exciting time of the year for rocketry, as all of the balls flight reports slowly leak out. This will certainly be one of the most impressive and important flights of the year.

Space Shuttle Images

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shooting a gas tank with a rifle

"...a complicated fuel/air setup with the fuel being dispersed by the high explosive ammonium chlorate. The ammonium chlorate, or tannerite exploding powder as it is sometimes sold, is hit with the bullet. This shockwave disperses and aerosolizes the gasoline. A meter or two away there are candles burning. These acted to ignite the fuel/air explosion."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavor flies over Golden Gate Bridge

Project 60K: N5800 Failure Analysis

"In May of 2012 Project60k was started as an attempt to break the “N” altitude record, and complete the CTI N5800 challenge. After much design and other collaborative work we had come up with a design that fit the goals and a reasonable timeline for completion. We then set off to find the money and other resources to put a project of this scale together. After speaking with many manufactures and vendors, we put together a full size budget for the project. After receiving many generous donations from vendors, and the community through donations, we were able to begin the build phase."

Read more at The Rocketry Planet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Horizons Newsletter - AIAA

This newsletter offers mostly new and even hypothetical aerospace designs and information, but it is also reprinting some incredible colliers articles clearly stating that "Man will conquer space soon!"  (And we did!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

N5800 rocket ready for Balls

This rocket looks mean indeed!  The rocket features extra thick CF fins and nosecone, both of which use a high temperature epoxy.  Although the fins are surface mounted, without tip to tip reinforcement, the builder thinks that the thick base ensures a strong enough attachment point.  Hopefully all goes well, and we will get some video footage of the flight after.  If things go perfectly, the rocket is projected to break 100K by a significant margin, destroying the N motor altitude record in the process.  Although I have had my (rather vocal) doubts about using anything other than metal for such a demanding flight profile (to mach 3.8) there is no doubt that testing the limits of composites is an important part of high end hobby rocketry.  I would dearly like to see one of these N5800 projects succeed some day.

See previous posts on this project.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ares I-X Forward Skirt Extension Separation Test

 "This is high-speed camera footage of a separation test conducted for the Ares I-X rocket. The test simulated the separation event that will take place following the first stage of flight. The test needed to show that the linear-shaped charge used to separate the forward skirt extension severed cleanly."

More info at NASA.

Friday, September 14, 2012

M1000 to M685 flight - Apogee over 100,000 feet!

"This is the video of the AeroPac 2012 successful flight to 104,659' AGL on Tuesday 9/11/2012. It was a two stage flight with fully commercial certified motors - an AeroTech N1000 staging to an AeroTech M685. Full recovery (the airframe was flown again on Thursday 9/13/2012). There was full GPS lock on the sustainer and the booster. The tracks of both components were streamed in real-time to APRS database as KG6DLV-4 and KG6DLV-5."

This looks like a winning flight for the Carmack Prize as it has GPS lock through apogee, and went over 100,000 feet agl with full recovery.  This is a really big week for the Carmack prize and rocketry in general as several attempts are now being made to push the performance of hobby impulse rockets (motors under O power) to extreme levels.  Two additional flights will be attempted soon with the mighty N5800.  They are both expected to match or even break the altitude of this two stage flight!  For my part, I am extremely happy to see onboard footage for this attempt.  That is a crucial part of documenting a flight and sharing the experience with others in the hobby.  The GPS profile shows significant deviation to the west.  This is a major concern with two stage flights of this power, as well as flights using slow burning motors.  The upper stage made it half-way to California!

A most impressive flight!


These kinds of cartoons and info graphics are extremely popular, particularly in Spain and India for some reason... so I will continue to post them when they are also applicable to space exploration.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Worlds largest windturbine

This is projected to a be a 6 megawatt unit.

There are plenty of concerns that I have with this kind of power generation, but as an engineering feat, this is pretty impressive stuff.

"A single of these giant wind turbine blades produced by German manufactuer Siemens is almost as big as the wingspan of an Airbus A380, the world's largest airliner. At 75 meters (246 feet), this massive beast is destined for a prototype 6-megawatt turbine to be erected at Denmark's Østerild test station. This arms' race in wind turbine size is due to the simple fact that as turbine blades get longer, the amount of electricity produced increases exponentially - it's all about the surface area covered by the rotor - and as more offshore projects are built, it makes more sense to build fewer big turbines than lots of small ones to control costs." 

"The entire blade is poured as a single piece made of glass fiber-reinforced epoxy resin and balsa wood. As a result, the blade has neither seams nor bonded joints and is extremely robust. The gigantic rotor, which measures 154 meters, has to withstand huge air masses, as it is hit by the energy of 200 tons of air per second when the wind blows at a speed of 10 meters per second."


Monday, September 10, 2012

O hai!

Self-portrait by curiosity rover.  Is it possible that Carly Simon was actually singing about this rover?  The world may never know...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Global Thermonuclear War

Strange game...

U.S. First Strike U.S.S.R. First Strike NATO / Warsaw Pact Far East Strategy U.S. / U.S.S.R. escalation Middle East War U.S.S.R. / China Attack India / Pakistan War Mediterranean War Hong Kong Variant SEATO Decapitating Cuban Provocation Inadvertent Atlantic Heavy Cuban Paramilitary Nicaraguan Pre-emptive Pacific Territorial Burmese Theaterwide Turkish Decoy NATO (obstructed) Argentina Escalation Iceland Maximum Arabian Theaterwide U.S. Subversion Australian Maneuver (ostructed) Diversion (obstructed) Limited Sudan Surprise NATO Territorial Zaire Alliance Iceland Incident English Escalation Zaire Screen (obstructed) Middle East Heavy Mexican Takeover Chad Alert Saudi Maneuver African Territorial Ethiopian Calamity Canadian (obstructed) Turkish Heavy NATO Incursion U.S. Defense Cambodian Heavy (Warsaw) Pact Medium Arctic Minimal Mexican Domestic Taiwanese Theaterwide Pacific Maneuver Portugal Revolution Albanian Decoy Palestinian Local Moroccan Minimal (obstructed) Diversion Czech Option French Alliance Arabian Clandestine Gabon Rebellion Northern Maximum (obstructed) Sabotage (obstructed) Paramilitary SEATO Takeover Hawaiian Escalation Iranian Maneuver NATO Containment Swiss Incident Cuba Minimal Chad (obstructed) Iceland Escalation Vietnamese Retaliation Syrian Provocation Libyan Local Gabon Takeover Romanian War Middle East Offensive Denmark Massive Chile Confrontation South African Subversion U.S.S.R. Alert Nicaraguan Thrust Greenland Domestic Iceland Heavy Kenya Option Pacific Defense Uganda Maximum Thai Subversion Romanian Strike Pakistan Sovereignty Afghan Misdirection Thai Variation Northern Territorial Polish Paramilitary South African Offensive Panama Misdirection Scandinavian Domestic Jordan Pre-emptive English Thrust Burmese Manuever Spain Counter Arabian Offensive Chad Interdiction Taiwan Misdirection Bangladesh Theaterwide Ethiopian Local Italian Takeover Vietnamese Incident English Pre-emptive Denmark Alternate Thai Confrontation Taiwan Surprise Brazilian Strike Venezuela Sudden Malaysian Alert Israel Discretionary Libyan Action Palestinian Tactical NATO Alternate Cyprus (misspelled “Cypress”) Maneuver Egypt Misdirection Bangladesh Thrust Kenya Defense Bangladesh Containment Vietnamese Strike Albanian Containment Gabon Surprise Iraq Sovereignty Vietnamese Sudden Lebanon Interdiction Taiwan Domestic Algerian Sovereignty Arabian Strike Atlantic Sudden Mongolian Thrust Polish Decoy Alaskan Discretionary Canadian Thrust Arabian Light South African Domestic Tunisian Incident Malaysian Maneuver Jamaica Decoy Malaysian Minimal Russian Sovereignty Chad Option Bangladesh War Burmese Containment Asian Theaterwide Bulgarian Clandestine Greenland Incursion Egypt Surgical Czech Heavy Taiwan Confrontation Greenland Maximum Uganda Offensive Caspian Defense

Is Blue Origin working on a crew capsule?