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!