5/18/08

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!

3 comments:

cj said...

You may only be at step one(model rocketry)but keep trusting God and you will go far.

-cj

R2K said...

I also would love to start my own aerospace company.

I think if I win the lotto, that would be my first step. Just do space exploration with rockets and baloons and the like. If I had a ton of money, I would want to sponsor other small groups looking to do the same. There are dozens of teams doing major amateur rocketry right now... but they suffer from a lack of money and time. I would want to help them also.

Anonymous said...

Keep hoping and dreaming...You will soar.

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