Monday, March 17, 2008

LAUNCH Magazine March/April 2008

I can't say I didn't enjoy this issue but only around a quarter of the the pages (less ads, etc) are dedicated to sport rocketry. I do like the space stuff, but that alone won't keep me as a subscriber. As a result, the amount of rocketry content is an important issue for me. I guess the jury is still out.

Four of these pages that I counted as sport rocketry are an article on a scratch-built, static model of the Rocketplane XP, by Mario Perdue. A static model? Well, it does use some rocketry parts and illustrates some neat techniques that would be useful for scale flying models. So, it's close enough. Barely. C'mon Mario, you shoulda put a motor mount in that puppy!

The stand-out article is an interview with Bill Simon, early Estes employee, rocket designer, and editor of the old Model Rocket News. This was pretty interesting, and includes a chart identifying who designed many of Estes' vintage kits.

The space content includes space history, commentary on where our space program is going, and a lot of pretty pictures of the recently unveiled SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightII. For me, the highlight was an article on the history of the Pioneer series of spacecraft. The low-light was Walt Cunningham's assessment of NASA's Constellation Program and the retirement of the Shuttle. This was not a low-light because of the article or the author, but rather because of the dismal picture it paints. Sometimes the truth hurts. This is nothing new as it is discussed to death in the space blogs and e-news, but it was still sad to see it in print. He asks the question, "why is there a 5 year gap between the last Shuttle flight and the first Constellation (AresI/CEV) flight?" Yeah, I wonder the same thing.