Sunday, November 28, 2010

High Power Rocketry magazine, June 1998

Here's a recap of yet another old issue of HPR magazine. Upon searching for some background on one article, I actually found an old Rocketry Planet article announcing that this issue was shipped, along with the previous issue, in July 1998.  That would make this one a mere month late, which is more timely than I remember.  But, I guess I'll believe RP.  Conveniently for me, RP published the TOC:
  • Low-Tech Lost and Found (A short electronics-for-tracking article.)
  • NYPOWER Launch Coverage
  • Airshow Demonstration (Post NYPOWER demo launch for the locals.)
  • Tar Rockets (An alternative non-regulated fuel, and a history of the Reaction Research Institute [RRI].)
  • The MOSFET H-Bridge Circuit (An electronics article that the author failed to link to rocketry. The editor hopes HP rocketeers will be able to discover a use for it.)
  • Sensory Deprivation-NOT! (Short article describing a person's experience attending the RRS Live Fire event earlier this year, plus a side-bar on the ERS.)
  • It Started With a Kit (We can all relate...)
  • Delamar Launch Coverage (HPR received a really neat photo of a rocket car just after sunset that was used on the contents page.) 
The stand-out article is Tar Rockets and the RRI. The RRI (Reaction Research Institute) was formed in 1959 by Aerojet employees, many of which had also been members of the California Rocket Society and Reaction Research Society.  It conducted research, held educational programs and launched rockets from their facility in Nevada's Smoke Creek desert.  They worked extensively with Asphalt-Perchlorate propellants, which were invented by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Aerojet in the 1940's.  This formulation required less processing equipment than HTPB and lent itself to field mixing.  They used surplus military rocket casings, including those from the five inch HVARS (High Velocity Aircraft Rockets). (These were also popularly used as fence posts by the local farmers.)  They did really cool stuff with these things.  Even though the propellant wasn't considered state of the art, the 5" casings provided a lot of power.  The attached photo shows a 3-stager that was optically tracked to 100k feet (and it was still going up!).  Now I want to re-read the whole article!

Some of the other interesting things I found in this old issue included: seeing several familiar names and faces in the NYPOWER coverage; the report of an "I" powered Fireball XL-5 that went unstable and hit both Ron "LOC" Schultz's and Ross "Magnum" Dutton's vehicles (Who says vendors don't have it tough?); an ad for liquid rocket reports and plans; the author of It Started With a Kit was from my hometown; a gyro controlled rocket by Steve Ainsworth (I think the tech report that the wrote for Extreme Rocketry is now available from ARA Press); a rocket with a lava lamp for its nose cone, and; info on high power rocket cars.