NASA is Lame

NASA has so much potential, but for whatever reasons, they dink around in LEO. For the price of the Space Station (~$100B) I have to imagine we could have made at least 5 manned missions to Mars by now.

It's all a matter of will and priority. At our current technological and economical level, there is nothing stopping us from sending a manned mission to Mars by next year. But nope. We've got this extremely long and vague calender that alludes to somethin' or other starting around 2020... And no, NASA, don't go to an asteroid. Go to Mars. Seriously.

What we need is another space race. With nothing driving us forward we'll never go anywhere. Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites has mentioned the coming Private Space Race, a race driven by capitalism and competition in the private sector. But the private space industry is only going to take over the maintenance of LEO, leaving deep space exploration to NASA.

NASA: Do your job. Seriously.


Science vs. Religion

I think I found a good quote that sums up the incessant conflict between science and religion:

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

~Albert Einstein

EDIT: Come to think of it, what's more blind is science without the insight of God. God is the only lasting truth, and all scientific research (and every other pursuit for that matter) is for the sake of knowing God, loving God, and showing God. I realize that that would be considered "scientific blasphemy" in the secular scientific community, but hey, it's true.

Besides, I would never try to force this mindset on anyone. It's just the way I approach life. But it would be great if you would join me.


Back to School

Classes I am taking this semester:

AerE 261 Introduction to Performance and Design
Astro 150 Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology
Phys 222 Classical Physics II
EM 274 Statics of Engineering

I will also be involved in USLI again which will give me a credit in AerE 290.

I am also looking for an on-campus job. Some potential opportunities include tutoring or being a research assistant.

It's looking to be a great semester.


Interesting Onboard Video from Last Launch

A friend of mine had this interesting flight of a cluster-ignition Patriot with several onboard cameras. Some sort of weird motor failure caused the flight to go terribly wrong. The only plus is that it made for some very entertaining video...


Fail #3

The failures this summer are beginning to get comical. Sort of like a running gag. I have no explanation for this failure, but it is obviously some sort of altimeter error, or user error pertaining to the altimeter.

As you can see in the video, the drogue charge did not fire at apogee, and then the backup motor-based ejection charge did not have enough power to separate the rocket. Finally the main charge went at 500 feet and saved the rocket. There was no damage, but I still failed to get my certification because not everything went according to plan.

One note about how the rocket fell back to earth. It's interesting how, despite my nearly 4 caliber stability, the rocket flat-spun and at times appeared to be falling backwards. What's with that? I admittedly don't understand how that happens.



Hopefully the 3rd Time's the Charm

Today was supposed to be Tripoli MN's August launch, but due to bad weather it got postponed until Sunday. Tomorrow I plan to launch the upper stage of my new Complex-L2 project for a level-2 certification attempt. I'll be flying it on a CTI J381SK, and it should reach 3000 feet.

This will be my third certification attempt for level-2 and the last attempt I can get in before moving down to Iowa for college, so I hope it works this time.

I'll keep you posted on the results.



I just downloaded OpenRocket, which is an open source rocket design and simulation software. So far I love it much better than RockSim, and it is absolutely free. RockSim has some quirks that are very annoying. While OpenRocket is somewhat less glossy and perty than RockSim, it does the job well and I believe it is more user-friendly and powerful.

Get it here!


Build Pictures for the 2-Stager!

I have made TONS of progress on my recent project since my last post. The exterior of the sustainer stage is finished, and the inside of the booster stage is finished. I have yet to put in the altimeter bay, recovery system and staging electronics housing on the sustainer, and still need to glass the booster airframe and paint it.

My work on the booster is rather unconventional. I cut out some strips of 1/4 inch plywood and glued them between the fore and aft centering rings. I then wrapped around the entire booster with plastic wrap and filled 'er up with expanding A-B foam epoxy.

I took this rocket to the county fair (it's my last year in 4H), and it got a purple ribbon. So I will be taking it to the MN State Fair this September, which means I will have to come up from college that weekend. I have a good reason to do so, however: If I participate in the State Fair this year, I am eligible to apply for a scholarship, so it is worth it.