2009 was a good rocket year, but not nearly as busy as 2008. I built less and flew less but still managed to quickly pick out 10 great items and events...
1. On April 25th at around 1 PM, Steve Eves commemorated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 by making some rocket history of his own. His huge 1:10 scale Saturn V boosted majestically on a central 'P' and eight 'N' motors. This was the biggest rocket I've seen go up, both in terms of size and its combined 'R'-class impulse! This event was well worth the 1hr 45min drive. The icing on the cake is that my wife and son attended with me. My launch report includes more photos, some videos, and numerous links.
2. On March 16th, District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton found in favor of the Tripoli Rocketry Association and National Association of Rocketry vs. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. His ruling vacated the classification of Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant (APCP) as an explosive, thereby ending our 9 year quest and reopening high power to the rank-and-file sport rocketeer. While I have no plans to build and fly much high power, this allowed me to get a few of my old ones back in the air. I now consider myself a low- and mid-power rocketeer who happens to have a few high power rockets lying around. This was probably the sport rocketry news story of the decade.
3. I don't know if it was actually released in 2009, but that is when I got my copy of RockSim 9 so it counts! Despite having its share of new release bugs, Version 9's 'pods' opened the way to a whole new world of sims with fins-on-fins, pods-on-fins, etc, etc, etc. I've made good use of it on both new and existing rockets.
4. Returning for the second year in a row...Warthog's build sessions. Friends, rockets and power tools...'nuff said!
5. The Max Launch Abort System (MLAS).
I totally fell for this rocket and immediately started building an 8" version...which has since stalled badly. However, Quest accommodated me with a 3.5" kit. I bought two - one to build basically stock and one to upgrade. It's small, but I think it's cool too.
6. The Raygun Gothic Rocketship from Burning Man 2009 for building inspiration and rocket girls!
7. The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, LIVE! I kept a close eye on the competition this year. The live feed kept me glued to the computer between October 28th and November 1st. And there was high drama in the desert. Masten took the Level 2 purse with around 5 minutes left in their last window. This was not without controversy as they were afforded a 'second chance' by the judges. Armadillo, the only other qualifier, had to settle for the 2nd place prize. Finally, who could not root for the father-son Unreasonable team? These guys did the most with the least resources and went down fighting.
8. EMRR's mid-year roll-out of his enhanced Flight Profile. Not really much to say here. You either use it or you don't. I do, and recommend you do do too!
9. The return of the TRF 1.0 Archive. When a system crash rendered years of good information inaccessible, I was bummed. I have a lot of links to that old stuff and often wanted to look something up. I really appreciate the hard work on the part of the TRF 2.0 admins.
10. Finally, a few personal records: I didn't fly it as much as in the previous years, but managed to hit 50 flights on the (Sweat Stained Clifton Tracking Station) Hat of Death; I hit 200 EMRR reviews; and, I passed 3000 blog posts. The latter two probably just say that I 'talk too much' (?)
I'll update this list should something arise in what's left of December.