Saturday, July 27, 2019

Launch Report 2019-2

Location: driveway
Weather: low 90's, wind 0, clear
Total flights: Today - 2; YTD - 4
Total motors: Today - 2; YTD - 2
Motors by class YTD: H2O - 2, MMX-2

Artemus Astronaut Build Notes:

This was made from a little foam astronaut that was handed out by ULA/Boeing at the Apollo 50 Celebration. This was a quick build using hot glue. I sliced out some of the foam and glued in the motor mount (T4 tubing with a motor block made from T3 and a balsa plug). The fins were cut from an Estes motor blister pack. I used an Estes lug so I didn't have to search for my MicroMaxx launch rods.

Flight Report:

Even though it is foam rubber, the Astronaut  is a tad heavy for the MicroMaxx motor. I didn't even hazard a guess at its stability. I figure it was soft and wouldn't go far. I was right, I guess it flew to about 10ft and boinked nicely on landing. I flew it twice.

The video is here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Launch report 2019-1 (updates)

Location: High Ridge Park
Weather: low 90's, wind 0-5, clear
Total flights: Today - 2; YTD - 2
Total motors: Today - 0; YTD - 0
Motors by class YTD: H2O - 2

Well folks, it's been almost a year since I last lit a motor. However, I couldn't resist grabbing a Ginormous Rocket at Costco. I've seen similar products in the past but wasn't inclined to buy one. That was before the grandrocketeers. As far as I can tell it is currently only available at Costco. At a bit over thirty bucks, it seemed like a decent investment.

The major components include: A rigid styrofoam lower body that holds the preinstalled water bottle; three foam fins that slide snugly into slots on the body; an inflatable upper body that slips into the lower body; a launcher unit; and, a hand pump. There are also a few more minor parts, including a rubber nose weight that slips over the top of the inflatable body.

The resulting rocket stands about 7" tall and is 6.5" in diameter at its widest. Quite impressive for the kiddos.

launch prep includes staking down the launcher, adjusting the tilt with the integral screw down legs, filling the water reservoir, screwing down the pump valve, and attaching the pump.  You then snap the rocket into the base, and pump about 100 times until the pressure gauge reads 100 psi. The rocket is launched by depressing a rubber bulb. I assume it works like this.

We didn't have much time so we only launched it twice. The performance was acceptable even though it probably didn't hit 100'. It backslides nicely but drifts a lot being mostly a big balloon, so the lower height is probably OK for most parks around here. I will charge the Altimeter Two for my next outing.

All the parts seems to be of decent quality. We will see how it holds up over the long run.

At some point I'll try to adapt a car air pump in place of the hand pump. I also think it would be fun to get one just to convert to fly on APCP motors. The base is big enough that you could keep the heat contained and possibly add rear ejection. If the launcher dies and the rocket is intact, I may give that a try.


These notes don't warrant a separate 'launch report' but I thought I'd post them in case anyone is interested in one of these water rockets.  I grabbed my Altimeter2 and headed out to a park with my son and another grandkid in tow.  As we set up, we gathered a nice crowd including a bunch of bigger kids willing to pump. 

Well, the rocket wouldn't launch when the rubber bulb was depressed. During the multiple tries, the lower part of the rocket was bumped and the air pressure released. At that point, there was no good way to get the rocket of the launcher. Even though it wouldn't come off, the seal was broken so the bottle wouldn't hold water under pressure. It finally popped off and we tried again with the same results. I am pretty sure that the release mechanism was damaged after we wrenched the rocket off the launcher. 

Very disappointing. Luckily, Costco has a great return policy. Two flights was just not acceptable.

Friday, March 01, 2019

G. Harry Stine photo collection

The Museum of Flight has a Flickr page featuring photos from the godfather of model rocketry, G. Harry Stine. At this posting, it currently has photos from NARAMs 1-10. Hopefully they will continue to post.

Update: It turns out that this archive is only new to me. I guess more photos is too much to expect.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Book Review: Make: High-Power Rockets, by Mike Westerfield

Make: High-Power Rockets, is written for anyone interested in high-power rocketry certification. The book takes a hands-on approach to designing rockets with rocket simulators, covers construction techniques, and deals with the sometimes tricky issues of picking the right black powder charge, drilling appropriately sized vent holes, and picking parachutes. Each rocket has detailed assembly instructions accompanied by color photographs illustrating each step. The book discusses dual deploy in detail, showing both the classic two-bay solution and a single-bay dual deploy system that will work with practically any high-power rocket. Two of the rockets have design options that allow you to build them for either dual deploy design so you can experiment with both.  The book also covers tracking with GPS and directional radio.

Along the way, you also learn everything you will need to pass the level 2 exam and fill out your level 3 engineering package.  Whether you are looking to certify or are happy with your current cert level, you will find this book interesting and useful.

Make: High Power Rockets is available through most book retail channels including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

LIVE from South Padre...the Starship Cam

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Apollo lecture by Gene Krantz

This video from Gene Krantz was forwarded to be via my old MCC contacts. Since it was so widely shared, I will quote his original email. Enjoy!

Team and friends,

I had the privilege to speak at Flight Jacket Night at the Smithsonian. I was following many great airmen and many were in the audience.This year we begin the celebrations of the Apollo Missions and i elected to talk about the landing and the teams of Mission Control.

During the restoration of Mission Control Sandra Tetley and Jennifer Nazarri located some original 16mm film that was taken during the descent. This film was a series of short clips that with the help of Space City Films I turned into a 15 minute segment that covered the descent.

About 20 minutes into the talk I begin a minute by minute narration of the powered descent. My data was derived from my log, air/ground transcript, crew debriefing and final mission report. The process of putting it together was a challenge, and having spoken at the NASM before I knew I had to get it right. Steve Bales and Chuck Deiterich helped me with details, particularly some the Guidance and trajectory calls during the landing.

The presentation is about 50 minutes in duration and the video segments are at the end.

For those who were there I believe it will bring back many memories.

The talk is at Flight Jacket Night

Cheers, Gene