Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rockets Magazine is a keeper!

Although I haven’t read every word twice, I think I have seen enough to write this review. Rockets Magazine does indeed meet my expectations (it didn’t exceed them only because I had seen the preview and had very high expectations).

Volume 1, Issue 1 is 50 pages deep and packed with interesting, quality material. The material is well written and the many photos are spectacular. It includes what appears to be eight regular features…

  • The compulsory Editorial, Letters, and Launch Schedule sections.
  • Quick Links (named after that ubiquitous piece of hardware that holds our creations together) highlights new products.
  • Movers and Shakers, which at least for this month is a two page photo collage by Nadine, a well known rocket photographer.
  • The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly – I suppose this will feature a mix of successes and failures. This month’s had both good and bad, but no ugly (or was that good and ugly, but no bad?)
  • Clubbing will undoubtedly feature club-related news and stories. This month Neil McGilvray suggests how to deal with Mother Nature when she isn’t exactly cooperating.
  • And finally, Kicks and Grins closes the issue with a couple of cute and humorous photos, including a future astronaut.

…and four featured articles…

  • The Big Dogs of MDRA – This chronicles the larger flights at two MDRA launches. It focuses on large motors (18 ‘M’, 3 ‘N’, and 4 ‘O’), speed (Mach Madness hits mach 1.03), and other notable flights, including flight # 200 of Dave Weber’s Toober on an H97. (Sorry, I had to throw the Toober in.)
  • Coverage of the Florida 2006 Winter Nationals. This one has a bunch of really great photos, including a 3-way M-Skidmark drag race. Yowzers.
  • MMX3/Whitakers, featuring the 16” diameter Minnie-Mag times three (MMX-3), which flew on an 8” diameter, 2-grain, 50kN-s, P7000. Double yowzers.
  • And last but not least, a construction article on Jerry O’s 7.5 Sandhawk. Lots of carbon and fiberglass and a 6” motor mount. This rocket is a work of art.

When Rockets won the contract to be Tripoli’s journal, some people were immediately asking if this would merely be an East Coast publication. Not unexpectedly, Issue #1 was largely that. Much of this material was gathered in anticipation of a win, i.e. before there even was a magazine. The editors will continue to have access to a lot of material in their own backyard and I am sure they will cover some events nation wide. However, Rockets has the same problem as all other rocket publications: they need quality submissions from rocketeers across the country. You can’t print what you don’t have. I know they will rise to the challenge, but they will need help to succeed.

Keep the pointy-end up and the fiery-end down guys!