Experimental Photography

Another thing I do when I'm bored:


Ambassador of Death

So Iran has U235. Now they're building unmanned bomber aircraft. And they expect the West not to be suspicious? This new bird's official name is 'Striker,' but President Ahmadinejad introduced it as 'the ambassador of death to our enemies.'



Classes Start Tomorrow!

I am very excited to start classes. I've enjoyed the last few days, but I'm ready to start studying!

Look for a post on how it turns out.


Moving In

College is going to be AWESOME!!

It took me two days to pack and half an hour to unpack. My dorm room is really nice and my roommate is even nicer. I'd post pictures, but I forgot to reinstall my camera software after my hard drive crashed so... no pictures yet.

All is going well. I got my books today. Chemistry and Multivariable Calculus look the most challenging, but fun. Classes start next Monday.


My Identity

A good thing to know about one's self is one's identity, especially when said identity will be challenged by the world when one moves to college.

So here's mine:

Above all, I identify myself with Christ. Since he saved me from sin and God's unbearable wrath, I am pleased to live my life following him.

Everything beyond that is just detail:

  • I am exceedingly fascinated by all things that fly, and the giant expanse of the sky calls to me.
  • So I study rocket science.
  • I was born into a wonderful, Christian, home-schooling family.
  • I have been lucky enough to live on a sod farm (rocketeer's envy!)
  • I used to hate math, but now I love it.
  • I am currently stepping up to the 2nd and 3rd rungs in my Ladder to Space.
The list was going to go on, but I ran out of time!

Thou hast given me understanding to compass the earth,
   measure the sun, moon, stars, universe,
   but above all to know thee, the only true God.
I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,
   here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;
Now I know but a small portion of what I shall know,
   here in part, there in perfection,
   here a glimpse, there a glory.
To enjoy thee is life eternal,
   and to enjoy is to know.
Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually.

~A puritan prayer from The Valley of Vision


Hard-Earned Level 1 Certification!

It has been a very long day. But I am happy to announce my successful level 1 high-power certification!

It actually took me two attempts. The reason is that the motor failed on the first attempt. It was rather frustrating. I only brought enough money for two reloads, so I had to skip my level 2 attempt for now. But at least I did eventually get my level 1.

The rocket sims to 4500 feet on an I285, but the altimeter recorded only 3400 feet. Even then it drifted far away and over the edge of some trees. I NEVER would have found the rocket if one of the rocketeers hadn't lent me his transmitter. It was fun learning how to use it, and it saved my rocket.

But unfortunately... it did not elude the clutches of the rocket-eating trees. It dangled about 30 feet high in a tall oak. It took a lot of thinking, but eventually I suggested finding a long stick in the woods and attaching the pruning device with duct tape, sort of like a long extention. The pruning pole had a hook on it that we tried to snag on the edge of the body tube. It was tedious, but we finally got it down.

What an interesting day.

I set the altimeter to deploy only the main. The drogue was deployed with the motor based ejection charge. The black powder goes into the pvc section on the forward bulkhead.

I taped the rocket hunter right to the nose cone, with the antenna up inside it.

Silly me, I designed the arming switch inside the altimeter bay, so I had to carefully take the rocket apart once it was upright on the pad in order to arm the altimeter. You don't want black powder going off in your face.

Ready to rock.

Very little damage after the fateful first flight. The main chute ripped off and drifted away. My dad found it.

Looking good on the pad, ready for its second flight.

Oh boy.

Where's Waldo?

Here's a shot of the pruning pole hooked onto the body tube.

Suprisingly, this was the only damage. And it was caused after it landed from yanking on the pruning pole.

Now I am looking forward to level 2!


Certification Attempt Tomorrow: Gulp.

Tomorrow is my one shot at certification until next year. I hope to use Stinger for my L1 cert on a Cesaroni I285. If I pass L1, I'm hoping to try L2 on a J285. If everything goes correctly, I should go from level 0 to level 2 in just one day! If I pass, I'll come back next year with an L motor!

I've been doing a lot of ground testing, since I've never tried altimeter based ejection charges before. Today I put one gram of black powder in the ejection charge, used a longer shock cord, and a lot more wadding. I think that one gram was just a bit too weak, and somehow the parachute still got a wee bit singed. What I need is Nomex cloth. Too bad I don't have any.


You can expect a very peppy launch report tomorrow.


Just Passed 50,000 Hits on YouTube

I think I've been doing pretty well on YouTube. My 27 uploaded videos have been viewed cumulatively over 50,000 times now, and I have attracted 34 subscribers. My highest viewed video has over 15,000 views (and unfortunately isn't even one of the rocketry ones). I hope to continue my work on YouTube to promote aerospace engineering and amateur rocketry.


Ejection Charge Ground Test

Yesterday I pretty much finished all the details that were left to finish on Stinger, so he was officially ready to fly. But I knew that I had to test the ejection charges, considering I had never used anything but motor ejection. The test was a success! The ejection charge system really was a success, but I learned two very important lessons (the kind that you want to learn while ground testing, not flying!):

  1. 2 grams of black powder is a bit much.

  2. 6 feet of shock cord is a bit short.
Somehow this resulted in a severed shock cord. This was 1" wide braided nylon! Yikes, I'm glad I found this out the easy way, a failure like that would cost me my certification:


Possible New Blog Title

For the past several months I have been toying with the idea of renaming my blog. There is a reason for that. "Exploring Creation with Aerospace" sounds suspiciously similar to Apologia's "Exploring Creation with _____" series of science textbooks. I want my blog to sound more original.

However, I still want it to mean the same thing. This blog is all about, well, exploring creation with aerospace! So I got out a thesaurus and started brainstorming.

Exploring the Universe through Rocket Science
Exploring the Universe through Aerospace
Aerospace Adventures
Aerospace Adventuring
Adventuring in Aerospace
Adventure is Aerospace
Aerospace is Adventure
Aerospace Endeavors
Adventurous Aerospace Endeavors
An Adventurous Exploration of Aerospace
Aerospace to the Glory of God
A Continuous Upward Climb
Ladder to Space
The Adventures of a Rocket Scientist
The Adventures of a(n) [insert adjective here] Rocket Scientist
Rocket Science, A Big Universe, and an Even Bigger God

That's why they call it brainstorming.

If you have any ideas, don't hesitate to post a comment.


Another Purple Ribbon!

This has been one of my last years in 4H. I always enter my latest rocket projects in aerospace, and they tend to do pretty good. This year was no different: Stinger got the purple award and High-5 got an award of merit. I also whipped together a computer program that calculates stability, and that received a purple as well. I normally take my best rocket project on to the the State Fair, but this year I will be in college the day of the aerospace judging. It might, however, work out for me to take my computer project. More on that later.


Level-3: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

You'd think I'd make sure I pass level 1 and level 2 before even thinking about level 3, but I can't help it. I might pass L1/L2 this August. Then I would want to start working on L3 pronto so I can get certified when I turn 21. I was looking at the costs involved, and it ain't cheap. I was estimating ~$1600. So if I start saving now, I should have enough money and resources by the time Level 3 is attainable. So I got a canning jar, a post-it note, and a sharpie marker, and made a piggy-bank.

I even started brainstorming rocket designs on RockSim. This one goes 20k: