Friday, January 30, 2015

RIP Milton W. Rosen, Pioneering Rocket Engineer 1915–2014

The Air and Space blog has a nice bio of Milt Rosen, who passed away on December 30, 2014. He was an early pioneer in our space program and was integral to many programs, including the Viking sounding rocket and the Pioneer satellite. While he was Viking Program Director at the White Sands Missile Test Range he was also the source of my favorite rocket quote:
Rockets are just another name for trouble. Either you just had trouble, you are having trouble, or you are going to have trouble.
Ad astra, Milt!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Calm yourself with this night launch video

Here is a cool still from the launch. Auroras, three multistage rockets, eerie chemical clouds, a laser and even the ground impacts...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vintage rocket powered monocopter may be up for grabs

Early in my blogging days and near the peak of my fascination with monocopters, I found some photos of the Rotary Space Ship that was manufactured by the Brown Manufacturing Company in the '50s/60s. I was recently contacted by one Richard Moore, who has owned one since around then. He says he may be putting it up on eBay so, if anyone is interested, you should keep an eye out. If you want to make an offer before that, I can forward your contact info to him.

He was also kind enough to provide some nice photos:

Weird rocket doohickey of the day

Check out the Panjandrum. Two wheels and 70 slow burn cordite motors made for some great hilarity. Wired has a nice article describing this crazy contraption: Well That Didn’t Work: The Rolling Rocket Bomb Designed to Kill Nazis Almost Killed a Dog Instead. Crazy? I LIKE it!

Credit: WIRED/Alex Davies

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Remembering the cost of space travel.

Apollo 1 crew: Ed White, Gus Grissom and Robert Chaffee
Challenger crew. Back row from left to right: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis and Judy Resnik; front row: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee and Ron McNair.
The crew of STS-107, Columbia. left to right: David M. Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael P. Anderson, Willie McCool and Ilan Ramon.
SpaceShipTwo: Michael Alsbury

All you ever needed to know to build a model rocket

Before there was the Internet, rocketry forums (yeah, that's the Internet too), or books (there was one, but I didn't have it), all an aspiring rocketeer needed was an Estes Catalog and a few of their Tech Reports. Today, Chris Michielssen passed along a reminder that that good old stuff is available on Estes' website. So, I posted this to remind anyone who doesn't follow Chris, or TRF. And, to remind me too! (Stolen image borrowed from  Chris.)

Estes Educator Publications

"Model Rocket Technical Manual"

That being said, you should still join TRF, a local club, and buy a book or two... G. Harry's Handbook of Model Rocketry or Apogee's Model Rocket Design and Construction. Or, better yet, get both!

Thanks Chris!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

SS Cestris build, part 6

I didn't achieve my goal of finishing this build before the New Year, however, it is now pretty much done.  Rather than buying some gloss white paint, I opted for a couple of clear gloss coats over the flat white primer. I didn't do this to save the money for the paint but the short painting windows that materialized didn't allow for a run to the store. This method seems to work out well enough considering my low standards.

The kit came with a lot of decals, including the 'Rocket Babe' set. The decals are high quality. That is, they didn't require pre-treatment and none of them broke as I tried to apply them. Even though the instructions say the decals do not need to be coated, I decided to do so. Here is where I ran into a problem. When I shot the Rustoleum Painters Touch clear coat onto the decalled nose cone, it left the black 'DSSF' insignia cloudy (think gray instead of black) and dissolved one small decal, leaving the pieces skewed. I will leave the theorizing to the reader but will point out that the temperature was in the low 40's and I shot pretty close to the cone as it was a little windy. For the body, I opted for Pledge Future Shine, which worked just fine.

I had mentioned that I added lead shot into the provided clay nose weight to account for the Estes retainer. The resulting CG did not agree with the RockSim that I found on but I decided that there was plenty of margin from the CP provided by that model. There is only one way to tell for sure :) I guess the maiden flight will be on a D12 and I'll go from there.