Going to Join the NAR...

It's hard to believe June is already upon us, but it's going to be an excellent summer for rocketry. I can just feel it.

To fly some of my larger project this summer, I've got a bit of a problem. There's no way to get HPR motors until you're 18... unless you join the NAR.

The NAR has a special program for kids wanting to get a head start in high-power rocketry. With limited provisions and close adult supervision you can get level 1 certified before you turn 18. With a level 1 certification you can fly H and I motors (an I motor has as much impulse as four G motors). So it's my goal to get my Junior Level 1 certification before the end of the summer!


Largest Amateur Rocket in MN!

I just happened to turn on my computer and check my email for the first time in six days yesterday, and got the news that Tripoli MN was going to have a research launch that same afternoon. The plan was to launch Big Yeller, a twenty foot tall rocket weighing 180 lbs, the largest amateur rocket flown in Minnesota! Of course I couldn't miss this event.

Above, the team is arming the altimeters just before launch.

A lot of people rushed off after the launch, but I came down to help recover the rocket. They were glad of an extra hand, because it was a bulky thing to lug around in the cornfield.

I took a picture of the aft rail button (the part that holds the rocket on the pad). It sustained some damage that looked like it had gotten stuck on the launch pad. Apparently this drag at liftoff nearly halved the altitude.


Compressibile Aerodynamics

I've decided to start a summer-long study of compressible aerodynamics, that is, the compressible nature of a gas at speeds above Mach. It ties in very well with my supersonic projects. I'm going to try starting my investigation using the NASA guided tours. It is my hope to actually conduct scientific research in this subject this summer.

It's a fascinating subject because at high speed regimes, there can actually be a chemical change in the composition of the air. At supersonic speeds, the density of the air changes drastically, and it is usually visible:


4th Time's the Charm!

On Saturday I had the privilege of attending a high-power rocket launch in North Branch, Minnesota. I launched Exporter 2000 with my new onboard video system, and for the first time ever I have video from this rocket! I'm pretty pleased with the results, but the wind was kind of high (~10 mph) and there was a lot of spin on the ascent.

There were quite a few other launches, but it was slightly overcast so no one wanted to go too high.