4 Channel Radio Transmitter

For a long time now I have been wanting to get into another area of aerospace: model airplanes. But it takes a lot of money and knowledge to get into it. Finally I ordered a 4 channel fm transmitter with a double rotor helicopter. I am really looking forward to its arrival! It probably won't be until after New Year's.
It also has the ability to attach a wireless camera downlinked to a pc or moniter. I might even try attaching my Flip video camera!


Nibbles the Astrocat

I saw an interview in a recent issue of Extreme Rocketry Magazine with a "cat" name Nibbles. Some clever rocketeer had built a spaceship for a small stuffed animal--similar to one of my projects, Squirrel's Rocket. This rocket has got me thinking along some challenging lines. It would be a great exercise to build a rocket as if you were building it for a real pilot!

As you can see, Nibbles had a few rough rides. This is a challenging project, so I'm going to have to spend a lot of time and resources on it, and learn as much as I can.
I have a couple of options: I could either modify my High-5 design slightly, or I could start over with a completely fresh design. The only criteria for my design is that I fly one pilot the size of a Beanie-Baby comfortably and safely aboard a high-power rocket equipped with a cockpit and capsule ejection, and recovery aided by radio transmitter (often called a "Rocket Hunter").


Merry Christmas!

This season makes me so happy and joyful inside; to celebrate the coming of the Savior and King of the Universe! Jesus is at the center of everything, and He's the center of every area and ambition in my life. I aspire to the skies because he is so cool. I learn math and science to marvel about him. Jesus is the reason for everything! Not just for the "season!"

Merry Christmas from DTH Rocket Endeavors!


A Short Break From Rocketry and Now a Wild Return

Hi! You can expect to see more blog posts from me in the future. I took a little break from my blog for a while since I had nothing to blog about. But I've decided to do a minimum of four blog posts a month, and I compiled a list of a few topics.

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.

What's next?

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!


November Is a Lot of Things... But Not Rocketry Month.

I haven't written a post in a while, because I've been far too busy with a lot of things on my plate.

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!


More Amazing Onboard Video

Here's another onboard video that is extremely cool:

Announcing High-5

Presenting my latest project, High-5, a five motor cluster that goes HIGH!! It is 100% high-power, able to fly on I's J's and K's, no less. This is my first build that cannot be flown as a model rocket.

Physical description:
  • 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
I've been working on it for a couple months now, and already it is beginning to take shape!


Amazing Onboard Video

I was searching through YouTube for some videos of high-power rocketry and I found some of the coolest onboard video I've ever seen on a rocket. There's nothing to say about it that accurately depicts how cool it is, so instead of babbling on and on I'll just show it to you:

Followed by a close second:


Tripoli Minnesota October Launch

All in all I'd say it was a nearly perfect day. The ONLY problem was that Exporter 2000's video camera failed. Again. I did a few diagnostics afterword and have concluded that the batteries come loose under the acceleration. I tried turning off the camera while recording, but the video worked up to that point. Then I tried taking the batteries out while recording, and that's what deleted the video! So despite my optimism I am still left with only video from the ground (which isn't all that bad though).

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


Launch Tomorrow!

I don't think I ever posted this, but I launched Exporter 2000 in our own sod fields fairly recently. For some strange reason the onboard video failed again! I've been brainstorming possible problems, I have just finished redoing the payload bay for tomorrow's launch. I've got a really good feeling about the launch tomorrow. I'm dying for onboard video!!

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:


Exporter 2000 Achieves Purple Ribbon!

Over the labor day weekend I brought Exporter 2000 to the MN State Fair to be judged in 4H. I worked hard on putting together an attractive display and put as much into it as I could. The judge really liked my project, and said that he even learned some about high-power rocketry! I was very pleased. I've always wanted to get purple at the State Fair for an aerospace project!

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.


DTH Rocket Endeavors Website

This is a relatively new blog, and I am still forming ideas as to what it is all about.

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.

I recently purchased the domain name "www.DTHRocketEndeavors.com," and have been teaching myself HTML the past few months. This site would be a conglomeration of this blog, rocketry articles, and maybe even an online hobby shop! The learning curve is steep for me, but it seems possible.

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.


Video From the Ground

I managed to post the video from my perspective. I'm still kicking myself that the onboard video didn't work. Anyway, here's the flight:


No Video

My video editing software is acting up. I'm sorry, but I won't be able to be posting videos for the foreseeable future, until I can get it working again, or until I get new editing software.


High-Power Rocket Launch 8/9/08

Success!! I would say my biggest success! Exporter 2000 flew flawlessly.

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!



I was determined to name it, so I borrowed a name from my sister's Nanooks in Pajamas.

Exporter 2000

Launch Tomorrow

Well, it's going to be a great launch tomorrow, and a perfect day for onboard video: partly cloudy. I like this because the cloud shadows are an awesome sight from above. No wind, no rain or foul weather... And I have a feeling there are going to be some great rockets there. Watch for my post tomorrow.

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!


"Current Project" Needs a Name

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!!
View from the top.
I took my cousin's advice and went with flip.
My logo.
There's a deep satisfaction that comes to you when you build a rocket that's nearly as tall as you.

The business end.

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky
And you know them by name,
You are Amazing God!


Current Project Update

I've been working hard on my second practice high-power rocket, for my MN State Fair exhibit. It hasn't been named yet, naming rockets has never been one of my best areas in rocketry. But it is similar to my last one in that it has a cluster of 2 "G" motors, the same payloads, and similar weight, but a different airframe shape.

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!


Success! (Sorta)

The good news is that the rocket (I always forget to name them) didn't shred in flight! The bad news is that it wasn't recovered successfully. I think that the ejection charge severed the shock cord and the rocket fell from 4000 feet. The streamer was still in the sky for a very long time, and eventually drifted out of sight.

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.

Supersonic Countdown

I've started the countdown clock for my Supersonic Project. If everything goes well, it will be flown later this morning.

T -2:00
Take a good, long look. It may never be seen again.


Rocket Propulsion Elements! Finally!

I've had my eye on this book for about a year now, and I FINALLY purchased it! This will be a resource that will be useful in educating myself about REAL rocket science, not model rocketry (which is great, and poses too many challenges anyone could master in a lifetime, but is just too small a scale to even leave the troposphere), nor even high-power rocketry. This is real spacecraft propulsion science, and it is the "definitive" text on the subject!

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.


Aerospace Projects Exibited in County Fair

Our county fair is over now, and my projects did pretty good in 4H. My practice high-power rocket was awarded reserve champ (second best), and I'm going to state! I am now working hard on rebuilding it for the state fair. It has many of the same features, like similar weight, power, and configuration, but a different shape and paint job. This one will be longer with a narrower diameter, taller than my sister! And I'm going to use two reloadable G64W motors, so if it works the liftoff will be absolutely spectacular. The whole goal of this project is to successfully achieve simultaneous ignition of multiple motors with composite propellants. I'm hoping to go to the next Tripoli MN high-power rocket launch to ask a few questions about igniters.

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...


Supersonic Rocket

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.

Rocket Specs:

Length: 20"
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!


XCOR LYNX Mk.1 Suborbital Launch Vehicle

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)


Catastrophic Flight

Oh well. Better luck next time!

It wasn't a complete failure. The altimeter worked, the video was salvageable, and the camera can be used in future rockets!

View from rocket:


Launch on the 4th of July

I have never had such a large body of spectators during a rocket launch! This 4th of July I had a model rocket demonstration for our family's gathering. Here's the video:



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...


High-Power Rocket Update

My practice high-power rocket is starting to take shape. I think I'm about 85-90 percent finished: I just need to give it a good paint job, glue the fins in place, and get the payloads. I also might redo the nosecone. I'm not real happy with it. I have limited tools and materials in my workshop, so it turned out kind of sloppy. Everything else looks great, though!

I've already ordered the altimeter. I can't wait until it gets here. The other payload will be a video camera, so check back here around mid-July for the video!

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)


Out of Sight, and Gone Forever.

This launch was about a week ago, but I haven't gotten around to posting about it yet. I had this rocket that kind of got me started building large rockets. It was a kit, called "Initiator." I bought it because I wanted to learn how a rocket of its size was constructed properly. This rocket was my only kit so far (besides tiny ones). I like to come up with my own creations!
Anyway, since I didn't build this from scratch or from my own head, I never felt compelled to fly it until just a few days ago.
The motor I used was a G40-13W (a G motor). I'm not sure, but I think this motor is really old. I found it in an isolated corner of an obscure hobby shop, all alone, priced at 5 dollars. So I didn't exactly have high expectations for this motor, but boy was I wrong...
Rocketry readers, isn't it correct that G40's don't burn for 3 seconds? And don't have a 13 second time delay? Well, this one did:

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!"


Starting a New Project!

I started building this rocket about a week and a half ago, and frankly, I think this one's going to be my best one yet! Here are the specs:

-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!


Why I Don't Like NASA

As I mentioned in my last post, I am not all that impressed with NASA. I know that it's hard to think about the atmosphere and outer space without thinking about NASA, but that's not what I want to be doing when I grow up: working for NASA.
One of the main things NASA is doing is building the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS doesn't serve much function and is a waste of time and money (a single Space Shuttle mission to the ISS costs well over a billion dollars). In the back of NASA's mind I think they hope to unite the world by joining the nations together in space. Well, it's not going to happen. The world is never going to be on perfect terms with itself, and the only way to keep the peace is to arm yourself to the teeth and hope that everyone's too afraid to attack you. Forming friendships with other nations might, or might not, be a good idea. The current Space Shuttle mission to the ISS is delivering a Japanese module. Why are we spending all our time and money and effort for some other country?
Anyway, other than the organization, I really like the hardware! The Space Shuttle is probably the most complex machine ever built, and the design will most likely improve in the future, too.


Space Shuttle Discovery Launch on May 31st

Below is a video of Space Shuttle Discovery's liftoff from 3 days ago:

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.


A Ladder to Space

A whatta to wha? What do I mean by a ladder to space? Am I going to try to build the World’s Largest Structure Ever Conceived by Man?

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
3) College
4) Either get a job or start a privately funded aerospace research company, eventually augmenting the resources for step 5
5) Build a spaceship

Step One: Model Rocketry

Model rocketry is currently where I'm at in my ladder. Model rockets are small, lightweight rockets propelled by commercially-manufactured, NAR-certified motors under 160 Newton-seconds (35 pound-seconds) of total impulse (that probably doesn't mean anything to you, but it equates to a type "G" motor). On the low end of the spectrum, model rockets are typically made from a paper tube, balsa wood fins, a plastic nosecone, and are propelled by black powder propellants. On the large end of the spectrum they are usually powered by ammonium perchlorate composite propellants, which is what NASA uses to power the Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters!

Step Two: High-Power Rocketry

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

Level 3: M - O motors
Level 4: Research rocketry - Scratch built rocket motors up to size "T." That's 131,072 times larger than any rocket I've built and flown!

Above is a rocket powered by an experimental "S" motor.

Step Three: College

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.

Step Four: Undefined

There are zillions of things I could do in this step. I could either get a job with a pre-existing aerospace company, or I could start one. I could build experimental research rockets, join the air force as and aerospace engineer, or anything else that would bequeath to me valuable experience and consolidate my resources.

Step Five: Outer Space

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!


High-Power Rocket Launch

The next step in my ladder to space would probably be high-power rocketry. These rockets are like model rockets, only much bigger and louder, and can fly much, much higher. This afternoon I went to a high-power rocket launch of Tripoli Minnesota and took a few pictures.
The following picture is of a rocket flying with a type "I" motor. That would be four times as powerful as any rocket I have built:

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!


How the Story Ends

So... I last left my rocket 50 feet high in a tree in a tangled mess. How on earth was I ever going to get it down? My Dad and I went out there to look at it, my Grandpa and I went out to look at it, scratching our heads in bewilderment, until my Grandpa got the idea to use the forklift. While we were waiting for a day when we could try it, it rained. Ugh. Things were looking bleak.

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.

So we spend all that time and energy planning a way to get the rocket back, and when we get out there where the rocket is supposed to be hanging in a tree...

No 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.

It turns out that our elaborate plan was not necessary after all!


First Launch of the Year!

I have about 80 dollars hanging in a tree right now...

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!


Current Project: Supersonic Travel

One of my current projects involves a paper tube, a "G" motor, and a big boom. Yep, I'm going to build a model rocket that creates a sonic boom.
However, that is easier said than done... Here is the beginning of my technical report on this project:
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 Sound
Model 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:
I hope to have it finished by July of this year, just in time for the Anoka County Fair. I'll be entering a few projects in the Aerospace category of 4H, hopefully this one included.
I am pretty excited about this project, and while I only have a vague design thus far, I hope to post some more information the farther along I get on it. I may post some pictures in the next month or two as well!


Rocketry Resources

A few people have asked about some of the books I've read about rocketry. Below I've made a list of some of these resources:
Without books on rocketry and aerospace, you would not be reading this blog at the moment. Because without the information I needed, I would have become discouraged and given up early on. There aren't a whole lot of resources out there for the rocketry enthusiast, but any bit of material I can get my hands on I read and re-read because I can learn so much from it.
Books and Resources I Have Learned From

The Handbook of Model Rocketry was the most inspiring book. I read it before I knew the first thing about model rocketry (well, maybe the first thing, like how to press "launch"), so everything was new to me. But I tell you, once I checked this book out from the library my rockets started improving at an exponential rate. (I could tell you the stories of some of my failures and successes and the story of how my rockets improved, but that's another post)

The Model Rocketry Handbook is just like the Handbook of Model Rocketry only a little shorter, and it is the UK version. It is handy to have two different authors' approach to the virtually the same thing.

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!