Merry Christmas from DTH Rocket Endeavors!
November was National Novel Writing Month, as I already have mentioned, and while I may have taken a break from building rockets, I did not really a break in rocketry. I sort of took my idea of a Ladder to Space and put it in a sci-fi setting. I'm not really a big writer or anything, but I got in the habit of participating in NaNoWriMo.
Well, I've got a lot of rocket projects planned for this next year, including continuing work on High-5, my ambitious level-1/level-2 high-power rocket, and an upgrade to squirrel's rocket, a project in engineering designed to treat the stuffed animal astronaut exactly like I would a real pilot (for instance, no more than six or seven g's of acceleration, but I'm still working on whether that would even be feasible in a high-power rocket).
And I've got one other wildly ambitious project ahead of me: Jr. level-1 certification through National Association of Rocketry (NAR) this spring or summer. But first I have to attend an NAR launch and ask a lot of questions!
One of those things is my honors algebra 2 class, where I have been studiously learning the finer points of higher-level math. It is a very important subject to have under your belt if you're going to be an aerospace engineer.
Another thing that I have been involved in is NaNoWriMo, which is the short way to say "National Novel Writing Month." The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, but I've set my goal to 100,000 OR to finish my novel, whichever comes first. If you could sum up the whole story into one sentence, it might go something like this: "An aspiring aerospace engineer foils the enemy's plot to control the planet." It's science fiction, as you may have already deduced. I don't claim to be an excellent writer or anything; this is just an event I participate in for fun. And it runs a common theme with one of my main ambitions, namely the exploration of the skies and beyond.
One other thing I'd like to mention is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It's a college down in Arizona that has sparked my interest, and has an aerospace engineering program that matches perfectly what I've been looking for. I still have a couple years before college, but I've started to think about it now. I also might look into the U of MN's aerospace engineering program, I've heard that theirs is pretty good, and it's much closer.
So my current rocket hasn't even been looked at in the past month or so, since my life has been taken up with so many other things. But High-5 will get lots of attention in the months to come.
I just thought that I would post this to let you know that I am still blogging!
- Central 54mm motor mount (for I through K motors), and 4 outboard 29 mm motor mounts (for G's and H's)
- 70 inches long, 4 in diameter inches at the nose base, down to 3 inches, back out to 4 inches at the "business" end
- Should be able to carry 8 oz of payload (like cameras, transmitters, altimeters) to over 5000 feet!
- Projected weight: 8 pounds (with maximum power)
- 2 or 3 stage configuration (a small onboard timer ignites outboard motors at a preset time interval after ignition)
- Estimated completion date: May, 2009
Followed by a close second:
Here's video of Exporter 2000 with both motors burning strong:
I also flew Spare Parts Spaceship (SPS-1) on a G80. That is the most powerful single use model rocket motor on the planet! I was a little worried about stability, but it flew pretty straight. Here's the video:
I finally got my editing software to work (Windows Moviemaker, a not-so-good program), so here's a few of the awesome rockets flown on Saturday. There were some great flights, including a J-motor drag race, a long burn K-motor, and a rocket that went almost 2 miles high!
And here's one other video that I found on You-Tube. Someone had started a rocket club for the U of M, and some photographers and videographers were at the launch putting together a story for the MN Daily. I'm in the background of the video searching for something I lost in the grass.
That's my claim to fame. If you want to read the story for the MN Daily, click the following link: http://www.mndaily.com/2008/10/11/u-rocket-club-tries-lift
I will also be flying a new rocket called "Spare Parts Spaceship" built out of spare rocket parts I had on hand. It doesn't have a paint job yet, so I'll post a picture of it later.
Anyway, here's the video from a couple weeks ago:
Here I am showing my Animal Motor Works 54mm high-power rocket motor casing to the judge.
Here's me demonstrating my motor retention system.
I have always had a dream of starting a hobby shop. I used to be very interested in model railroading, and still am, but have set that hobby on the shelf for a while. I still want to start a hobby shop someday, perhaps specializing more in rockets and aerospace.
That dream might not be far off.
The website is not up yet, but might be within a month to a year. When it is first up I'm guessing that I won't have any inventory yet, because I don't have any capital. Any investors out there reading this?
Anyway, the purpose of this blog is to
A. Show people how cool God is
B. Inspire others to pursue there own passions for God's glory, and
C. Give other rocketeers ideas.
Here's a video of a recent launch. I made this video to show how a typical launch goes, and gave a simple tour of my ground support equipment.
As you can probably see from the picture one motor came up to pressure a little before the other. Cluster ignition is tricky, but I managed to pull it off.
No camera man actually stood this close. This is the frame from a pad camera.
There was only one problem: the video camera came back empty. 8(
My plan is to launch it again in a few days at my own field. Right now I'm attaching a mirror to the side of the rocket at a 45 degree angle so the video is looking down.
My altimeter indicated that the rocket went to 1,650 feet, reaching speeds of 220 mph.
I'll post the video from the launch soon!
By the way, I'm not going to manage naming it before tomorrow. I'm going to watch with discomfiture as "untitled" takes to the sky. How embarrassing!
I have to quickly think of a name for this awesome rocket before I launch it on Saturday. Have any bright ideas?
I hope to talk to some experienced rocket people at the launch to see what kind of igniter I should use. I don't want to crash this one!!
I took my cousin's advice and went with flip.
There's a deep satisfaction that comes to you when you build a rocket that's nearly as tall as you.
The business end.
It's almost done, I just have to wait for the nosecone to come in the mail. I ordered it on the 15th of July and it's still not here. I'll have to call.
So excited! There's a good chance it'll fly on Saturday the 9th!
Did we hear a sonic boom? Well, when it was first launched I was so surprised by the high acceleration that I forgot to listen for one. But when I played the video back, I thought I heard it--two muffled "POP's"--but I'm not sure. If what I'm hearing is the sonic boom, it didn't come exactly .3 seconds after ignition, so I don't think the acceleration was quite as high as the simulation on my computer indicated. The quality of the sound is not very good on YouTube videos. What do you think? Do you hear the sonic boom?
Edit: The sound I am hearing is at about 1:32 in the video.
I've started the countdown clock for my Supersonic Project. If everything goes well, it will be flown later this morning.
It reminds my of an old cartoon I drew a few years ago:
I now have 7 books in my library. Books are the best!
I have another new book called "Amateur Rocket Motor Construction". I'm not planning on building my own motors anytime soon, but in the future I hope to.
My other project, "Going Supersonic" received an award of merit, which just means the judge thought it deserved something a little more than a blue ribbon. I still haven't launched them: I'm waiting for an absolutely perfect day. Wednesday looks pretty good... but we'll see.
I put up all my aerospace ribbons from 2006-2008 up on the wall above my workbench for inspiration. A purple ribbon would be a wonderful addition to my collection...
I've been working nonstop on my supersonic project, and it's starting to take shape! I've had some great breakthroughs in design and some great ideas on how I can achieve a better flight.
The goal for this project is as follows: To build a rocket that flies faster than the speed of sound and creates an audible sonic boom, built strong enough to withstand such high airspeeds, and be recovered safely after flight.
I've put all my technical ability into this project so that it might survive the high pressures of a supersonic flight.
I am building two of them, and one of them I'm adding a payload bay to so that I can include an altimeter. Then I will be able to determine altitude, velocity, and time to apogee.
Liftoff mass: 8 oz.
Total impulse: 105 N-sec type "G" motor
Projected altitude: 4,000 ft.
Maximum velocity: 1,300 ft/sec (mach 1.16)
Yesterday I thought of a way I can better my chances of hearing the sonic boom. The reason you don't usually here a boom from a rocket is because the shock wave travels out horizontally on a lateral plane above your head. So my idea is to stand farther back from the rocket and tilt the launch pad a few degrees toward the spectators. I want to aim that shock wave right at us. I'm not sure that would help at all, but I'll try it.
The first launch will be ready anywhere from two weeks to four weeks from now.
Let's pray it holds together!
This is precisely the sort of thing I want to be building when I get older and augment more resources! XCOR Aerospace is a private aerospace company (apart from government) which is building a suborbital launch vehicle for the growing market of space-tourism. Sort of like Virgin Galactic, but frankly I like this one better:
(Click the flight profile to enlarge it)
I've named my rocket: Altocumulonimbus.
Altocumulonimbus - n. a high-based storm cloud
The rocket is pretty much done (besides its payloads). Here are some pictures:
The completed paint job looks spectacular
My logo, applied lovingly to each fin
RRC2 mini altimeter. I purchased this for 79 dollars. I hope I can figure out how to use it in a way that works for me.
Altocumulonimbus next to one of my first scratch-built rockets ever. I've come a long way in 2 years!
Altocumulonimbus pointed toward the skies, itching to go there...
The business end of my high-power rocket. 2 G77 motors will be used to heft this rocket to 2700 feet.
Here, my guinea pig "Bella" poses next to DTH Rocket Endeavors greatest flying machine so far... (Well, I guess that remains to be seen)
And...goodbye. Good buy. But gone forever.
By the way, that was my sister's camera you can hear in the background, "click click click click click!"
-Over 2 pounds
-210 Newton-seconds of total impulse (2 G motors!!!). This is the largest amount of impulse that is still considered model rocketry :D
-Apogee is at 2,700 feet! Over half a mile!
-45 inches in length
-4 inches in diameter
-Spacious payload bay, planning on 2 payloads: altimeter and video camera (perhaps transmitting at 1.2 GHz)
This is what I'm calling my "practice" high-power rocket. This summer I hope to build a full-fledged high-power rocket, and though high-power rockets look similar to model rockets externally (besides size), they have very different construction techniques.
I'm going to include this rocket in my county-fair project on aerospace this year. Watch for more posts as it takes shape!
The Space Shuttle is one of the most spectacular things...right up there with tornadoes and corn on the cob...however, I don't think that NASA uses it for a purpose which pays for itself. The Space Shuttle I like, NASA I don't. I'll tell you why either tomorrow or very soon.
DTH Rocket Endeavors’ Ladder to Space – noun: A metaphorical ladder consisting of certain steps I must take in different seasons of life to get to the point where I have the ability to build spacecraft and other Vehicles of Wonder.
As far as I can see, this ladder has 5 rungs:
1) Model rocketry
2) High-power rocketry
4) Either get a job or start a privately funded aerospace research company, eventually augmenting the resources for step 5
5) Build a spaceship
This step will probably be the longest process, because it ranges from rockets slightly larger than the ones I'm building now to behemoth monsters that are almost as tall as some baby model rockets can fly! (That might be a slight exaggeration!) There are three levels of high-power rocketry, but I like to think of it as four, because beyond level three you have to build your own motors. Each level is defined by the power of the motors.
Level 1: H - I motors
Level 2: J - L motors
I can't possibly expect to get to space without learning a few things, can I? Next year I will be a Junior in high school (homeschool) so I still have some time to think about it.
Uh... Why again would I devote my entire life to this? The answer is surprisingly simple: I am fascinated by it. I want to go there. And it's not just outer space that fascinates me, it's the vehicle to get there!
This rocket has a kind of amazing story. Right when the range safety officer pressed the launch button a large gust of wind came up, and the rocket arched over in the sky. We expected it to straighten out, but it just kept curving, until it pointed towards the ground! When it finally did straighten out it was flying along parallel to the ground—still accelerating. It barreled into the ground and skipped like a stone…at nearly half the speed of sound! It’s too bad I didn’t video-record it. It was amazing. You would have liked to see it.
And at this launch I flew the famous “Squirrel’s Rocket” which appeared in my short clay animation. It was an amazing scene, a dark cloud in the background with the sunlight reflecting off the metallic paint job:
I can hardly wait to fly high-power rockets!
Well, it was certainly worth a try. On Thursday we started up the forklift and spent some time building a platform on the forks (to stand on) out of a sod pallet. The hope was that with the 21 feet the forks could be raised to plus the eight feet or so one of us could reach to, plus another 15 feet from the pruning pole we brought along, that we would be able to reach the rocket.
The rocket was not in the tree, but laying on the ground beneath the tree. As it turns out, the rain had loosened the shock cord mount so that it came out all together, and the lower part of the rocket fell to the ground. The nose cone and the parachute are still out there, but they are inexpensive and easy to build.
Yesterday afternoon I suggested opening the flying season with the flight of an unnamed rocket whose official title is "Project 3 Rocket 2." This rocket is sort of becoming the mascot rocket of DTH Rocket Endeavors, and it needs a name. I'm open to suggestions!
I had plenty of spectators, which always makes a launch more worth while. The liftoff was so astounding that my spectators were shocked, enthusiastically astonished and pumped with alacrity. It was a near perfect flight...
But there was one problem: it never came back. The rocket soared to apogee, deployed the 'chute, and went drifting off over the horizon. I was a little dismayed, to say the least. I was watching as my rocket with that 70 dollar reloadable motor in it went sailing off into the distance... perhaps never to be seen again?
After long hours searching all afternoon, I finally found it: tangled 50 feet high in a tree about a half mile from where it had been launched. It had traveled the length of a sod field, over a strip of woods, across another sod field, and over a busy road (I can just see the drivers' faces, seeing a large black rocket floating by) where it finally came to rest at the top of a tall oak.
I have to get it back right away, because you're supposed to clean the reloadable motor within 24 hours, because the burned propellant can eat away at the casing. This is sure going to take some creative thinking!
I have discovered that it isn’t hard to design a rocket to go supersonic. I’m guessing the most challenging part of this project would be building it to withstand high airspeeds, yet still light enough to go that fast. Thus, here is the goal of this project:Goal—To build a rocket that flies faster than the speed of sound and creates an audible sonic boom, built strong enough to withstand such high airspeeds.To Fly Faster Than the Speed of SoundModel rocketry is probably the only
hobby that can travel faster than the speed of sound (mach 1). But you can’t just build any old model rocket and expect it to break the sound barrier. It has to be a sleek, lightweight, high-thrust rocket. I’ve had to tweak my design several times to get it just right, and I probably will tweak it now and then in the future. However, there are 4 essential design features:
However I don't consider myself evil, or a genius for that matter, this book was helpful because the beginning of the book is for the beginner and novice, but towards the end of the book the topics get more advanced, so you don't really outgrow it right away. This book introduced me to the topic of computer programming and the flight computer. To teach myself concepts in programming I am currently using the BASIC language, and from there perhaps I will be able to build a flight computer someday. (To record data, deploy the 'chute, etc).
Model Rocket Design and Construction is a book I purchased with RockSim rocket design software. See my post about rocket design software here. This book contains information on how to design and build rockets so they are safe, cost-effective, cool looking, high-performance, and successful rockets. It is written by an experienced aerospace engineer who is the owner of Apogee Components.
Modern High-power Rocketry 2 is an introduction to high-power rocketry (HPR), which is basically the upper end of model rocketry. I just purchased this book, and I can't wait to start building a high-power rocket. To give you some idea of how big they are, the smallest ones (level 1) are usually 2-8 pounds or so and fly to about 2,000 to 5,000 feet AGL, and the largest (level 3+) can weigh over 700 pounds, and (this is one of the coolest things ever) some rockets with the smallest diameter allowable for their motor can fly to the very edge of outer space!!
Anyway, this book contains very useful information on how to do this, and all the information you need to get started (not necessarily how to build your own spacecraft! :)
So those are the books about model and high-power rocketry that I have read, and I probably would have never gotten this far without them. Another great resource is the Internet (there’s so much information on the Internet that it makes my brain hurt). That is how I found out about a local high-power rocketry club: Tripoli MN.
There is one more that I would like to mention here:
Rocket Propulsion Elements is a thick, 700-page book covering all but the most advanced topics in rocket science! *Drool* I don’t own it yet, I have to save my money. The book is worth $120.00!! Just a little light reading for my spare moments, right?
Oh, and I certainly don't want to forget this one!
The Holy Bible, my ultimate reference:
- "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'" ~James 4:13-15
- "The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" ~Proverbs 16:9
Even though I have most of my life laid out in my mind, as often as I think of it I remind myself, “If the Lord wills, I will live and do this or that." I can’t help but think of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life." He had it all planned. But God had other ideas for him. So that's why I try to talk about my plans in a tentative way.
- "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
That verse pretty much sums up the mission of DTH Rocket Endeavors!