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Record-Breaking Model Rocket Launch Set For April 25 156

Posted by timothy
from the mx-missile-would-have-been-more-exciting dept.
darkjohnson writes with this impressive excerpt from Rocketry Planet: "On April 25, 2009, history will be made. At Higgs Farm in Price, Maryland, Steve Eves will enter the history books as the person who flew the largest model rocket in history. The rocket will weigh over 1,600 pounds, it will stand over 36 feet tall and it will be powered by a massive array of nine motors: eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor."
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Record-Breaking Model Rocket Launch Set For April 25

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  • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:28PM (#27628589) Homepage Journal

    Even though it makes this stuff [amazon.com] look pretty simple in comparison, it still makes me want to dig out my old home made launcher and build a rocket.
     
    I remember as a teenager saving up for months to buy the Estes designer's kit. I set up a card table in my room where I designed and built quite a few rockets - nothing that used bigger than a D engine. I'll never forget the night I left a bottle of dope open on the table. Very bizarre dreams that night. Learned to keep the window open when I worked on stuff and to shut everything up when I was done.

  • So..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cortesoft (1150075) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:31PM (#27628607)

    When exactly does a model rocket become just a rocket?

    • Re:So..... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SputnikPanic (927985) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:33PM (#27628615)

      When the FAA and NASA know about it...

      • Re:So..... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:44PM (#27628729)

        The FAA probably already knows about this rocket. I've been to a few launches with a local rocketry club, and they always get FAA clearance. My understanding is that they have a permanent clearance for their launch site for the first few thousand feet, but when they're launching the high-power rockets, they get unlimited clearance, making the area essentially a no-fly zone for planes. (Although that clearly didn't stop the Predator drone that was hanging out above us one day.)

        • Re:So..... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by notthepainter (759494) <oblique@@@alum...mit...edu> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:06PM (#27628939) Homepage

          I was talking with a friend about 5-10 years back and the FAA had recently pulled all approvals for model rocket launches. Being the resourceful group that model rocketeers are, they found some connections and got all set to launch from some Navy proving grounds. FAA got wind of that and got all huffy and said "no no no boys."

          And then the Navy got all huffy at the FAA, "You talking to me?"

          Must have been a fun few meetings!

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Well, in theory the civilian FAA should have more authority over domestic airspace in peacetime. And until a formal declaration of war is in effect, we are at "peace". The FAA decides what airspace is restricted, not the military.

            • Re:So..... (Score:4, Informative)

              by notthepainter (759494) <oblique@@@alum...mit...edu> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:24PM (#27629073) Homepage
              I'm not a pilot, nor a military person, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_use_airspace [wikipedia.org] may give some clues. Basically, as told to me the Navy had some airspace that was "theirs" and didn't take kindly to the FAA trying to tell them what they could do with it.
            • by rts008 (812749)

              Well, that breaks down when the FAA tries to take over control of one of the Navy's designated area of operations. When that happens, the FAA will lose, and rightfully so.
              You can't have civilian flights in weapons testing ranges etc....

              • by sjbe (173966) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:56PM (#27629323)

                Well, that breaks down when the FAA tries to take over control of one of the Navy's designated area of operations.

                Right, because the Navy has weapons and the FAA doesn't. I'll put my money on the Navy in that fight.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                No sir. The FAA sets those areas at the request of the military. If it came down to a real legal turf war, the FAA must have the ultimate authority. Otherwise we are under military rule. As far as I know the US is not...yet.

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Well, in theory the civilian FAA should have more authority over domestic airspace in peacetime.

              In theory the FAA is managing the airspace in the interests of the populace, and that includes model rocket launches. See what I did there?

          • by danwesnor (896499)
            Actually, they did what all good Americans do. They sued, and won.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VonSkippy (892467)

      When it's more then a glorified pop-bottle rocket.

      Which means it has to have active stabilization and a guidance package.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anachragnome (1008495)

      Sometime just before the government steps in and shuts down the whole project.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by antispam_ben (591349)

      When an antagonistic foreign power launches it. I get the feeling this guy is about to be declared an antagonistic foreign power.

    • No definite size; but not being built to look exactly like a larger rocket probably helps.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deander2 (26173) *

      it's a model rocket because it's a 1/10th scale replica of the saturn V.

    • by ozbird (127571)

      When exactly does a model rocket become just a rocket?

      When in becomes airborne.

    • When it is an original design I suppose.

      The rocket it question here is "modeled" after a Saturn V rocket. Even bottle rockets are rockets. I think the word "model" in this context does not refer to the size, but more to the appearance.

    • I think when it's not made of balsa wood.

      This does indeed appear to be a model, as opposed to just a rocket :-)
  • by netruner (588721) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:34PM (#27628631)
    The German V2 rockets were only 46 feet in length - although they were much heavier.

    What I'm trying to say is this dude's rocket ain't no model - he's launching a real rocket.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Nimey (114278)

      Is he German and does the rocket's flight path point towards London?

    • by Somegeek (624100)

      The V2 was FULL of fuel and was designed to withstand high speed flight.

      Not to knock this guys accomplishment, but he has built a large, mostly hollow, scale model rocket with model rocket motors at the bottom. It will not break the that mach barrier or attain more than a few thousands of feet in height. It also has no guidance system.

      Not a 'real' rocket.

      • Actually in the vernacular of the profession, Rockets are unguided vehicles when unmanned like the Honest John [wikipedia.org], Guided vehicle are called missiles like the Hawk Missile [wikipedia.org], a manned vehicle is always called a rocket without regard to guidance.

        • by Somegeek (624100)

          OK, so the V2 is a missile, point taken.

          Where is the line between a missile and a sounding rocket?

  • broken summary (Score:3, Informative)

    by mjensen (118105) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:36PM (#27628659) Journal

    "On April 25, 2009, history will be made. At Higgs Farm in Price, Maryland, Steve Eves will enter the history books as the person who flew the largest model rocket in history. The rocket will weigh over 1,600 pounds, it will stand over 36 feet tall and it will be powered by a massive array of nine motors: eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor."

    • Re:broken summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:54PM (#27628839)

      eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor

      So that's a 90-microsecond array?
      (They mean Ns - yes, case matters with physical units...)

      • by julesh (229690)

        eight 13,000ns N-Class motors and a 77,000ns P-Class motor

        So that's a 90-microsecond array?

        Actually, I'd say it's probably something like a 20-microsecond array. If something in rocketry is measured in seconds, it's usually a specific impulse, whose actual dimension is (force.time)/mass: for measurement the force is measured in units of "force required to balance gravity for a specific mass" causing it to cancel with the mass leaving only a time. From the fact that mass^-1 is a factor you can see that the

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#27628665) Homepage Journal

    Not joking here, i'm surprised the government has not stepped in and stopped him.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by yodleboy (982200)
      "they can have my rocket when they pry it from my cold, dead hands"
      "when rockets are outlawed, only outlaws will have rockets"
      weak, i know. it's a boring rainy day...
    • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:52PM (#27628803) Homepage

      The BATF tried to stop all amateur rocketry beyond the toy size but they lost the lawsuit. A Federal judge ruled that solid rocket fuel of the type used by these rockets is not an explosive.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Right, but if you get TOO big i bet it would not qualify as amateur anymore and would step in.

      • The BATF tried to stop all amateur rocketry beyond the toy size but they lost the lawsuit.

        Why did they? Although with a name like that... Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, they sound like a unpleasant group of killjoys. Or is it a suggestion for a shopping list?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by John Hasler (414242)

          > Why did they?

          Because it is in their nature to grab for power and "terrorism" provided an excuse.

        • by sjames (1099) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:15PM (#27630683) Homepage

          In order to justify it's existance and grow, a government bureau must continuously find new excuses to add layers of regulatory bureaucracy and new things to regulate. They were far far more interested in throwing their weight around and making people kiss their ass than they were in any sort of safety or public well-being.

          The fact that the rocket engine cores cannot be made to explode even intentionally was irrelevant to them. A regulatory agency saw a group of people who they weren't directly regulating. The group was small enough to not create an inconveniently noisy public protest but large enough to stroke their collective ego.

        • by Deadstick (535032)
          with a name like that... Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, they sound like a unpleasant group of killjoys.

          More like a caterer in Texas.

          rj

        • They weren't as worried about the rocket motors being used as an explosive as they were of the motors being used in a delivery vehicle for a warhead.

      • by nametaken (610866)

        Really?!?

        Good lord, just another example of the terrified, pushover nation we've turned in to.

        I was just talking to a friend about how I got a slap on the wrist as a kid for making a draino "bomb". At the time we thought it was out of control that anyone even cared, where kids used to blow off far more explosive fireworks and never get in trouble.

        Nowadays it seems like I got away with murder. Today the so-called department of homeland security or the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms would ship my a

        • > Good lord, just another example of the terrified, pushover nation we've turned in to.

          Um, I thought I wrote that they lost the lawsuit. Of *course* they made a try at a power grab. Why would you expect anything else?

      • Ahhh!

        So its a big "Fuck You!" to the BATF.

        Record breaking, even.

        This puts this story in a whole new light. Let the countdown begin.

    • by Sperbels (1008585)
      It's because there are still some who recognize that innovation doesn't necessarily come from the belly of gigantic corporations...that it used to come from hobbyists in their garage before the US government started regulating everything to death.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rossifer (581396)

      Well, with a maximum altitude under 5000 feet, this guy's not going for performance, he's just putting a scale model up in the air high enough to say it flew. High performance means high propellant mass fractions (where up to 90% of the launch weight is propellant) and almost certainly multiple stages. This rocket has an 18% propellant fraction and is single stage. It will look very cool coming off the launchpad and that's all it needs to do.

      The government gets interested when you start heading for 50,00

      • I remember several years ago reading an article on the web where some guys were building a model rocket with an optical tracking and guidance system. They were essentially building an optically guided surface to air missile.

        I have not been able to find that article since.

        I wonder what happened to it and their project?

  • Reminds me of this not amazing, but fun for kids movie about a guy that built the full size thing in his backyard.

    Funny, the alarmist guy here sounds like some of the government types int he movie :)
    http://entertainment.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1203785&cid=27628631 [slashdot.org]

  • by StarManta.Mini (860897) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:40PM (#27628689)

    .....the world's tallest midget?

  • I think he should take it further and build a seat in the thing so when he hits the top he can skydive the rest of the way and if the rocket fails will be a huge mistake on his part
  • by ZERO1ZERO (948669) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:42PM (#27628707)
    It's great that regular folk can do these things One thing though - I wonder just how bi
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      It's great that regular folk can do these things One thing though - I wonder just how bi

      Something about your comment se

  • Uh-oh! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ironchew (1069966)

    it will stand over 36 fe*END OF CARRIER*

    Little did Timothy know the true purpose of the rocket and its payload. ::evil laughter in the distance::

  • communications (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wjh31 (1372867) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:44PM (#27628725) Homepage
    honest, its just a communications satellite
  • At 1600 pounds and 36 feet when does a model rocket become just a rocket?
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      At 1600 pounds and 36 feet when does a model rocket become just a rocket?

      When it achieves orbit around Uranus?

      Picture of the model, since the site is slow http://www.rocketryplanet.com/images/content/2829/1.jpg [rocketryplanet.com]

    • by Tacvek (948259)

      The only reason I can think of that this is being called a model rocket, is that it is using engines of the same basic design as modern model rockets. If this was being launched by more traditional rocket fuels then due it the size and weight it would surely be a full fledged rocket.

      • The propellant formulations (Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant--APCP) used for high power model rockets are essentially the same as the one used in the solid rocket boosters that lift the Space Shuttle.

        Granted, model rockets don't use LOX. LH2 or hypergolics, but some of us are playing around with hybrids like Rutan used on SpaceShipOne.

      • by toddestan (632714)

        Well, that and the fact it's a 1:10 scale model of the Saturn V.

        • by Tacvek (948259)

          True, but consider that one can have a 1:1 scale model of a rocket. In that case the difference between it being a rocket vs a model is usually that the model is not functional.

          Would you call a functional 1:1.1111 (9:10) scale Saturn V a rocket or a model? I'd call it a rocket, myself.

  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @01:46PM (#27628757)

    "On April 25, 2009, history will be made. At Higgs Farm in Price, Maryland, Steve Eves will enter the history books as the person who flew the smallest full-scale rocket in history. The rocket will weigh over 1,600 pounds, it will stand over 36 feet..."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...need to prove the existence of the Higgs Farm. Some have theorized that all vegetables gain their mass from the Higgs field. Now we may finally know.

  • Model Rocket (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jared555 (874152)

    I thought model rockets were just when you were following a kit and/or exact instructions..... I would think this would just fall under amateur rocketry....

    From wikipedia:

    A model rocket is a small rocket capable of being launched by anybody, to generally low altitudes (usually to around 100-500 m (300-1500 ft) for a 30 g (1 oz.) model) and recovered by a variety of means.

    According to the National Association of Rocketry, (NAR) Safety Code[1], model rockets are constructed of paper, wood, plastic and other l

  • How does one add tags, or is that for ubergurus only? This site has crashed and burned. I got database errors, the first page for a moment, and then:
    This site is temporarily unavailable.
    Please notify the System Administrator

  • A "model" rocket? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sphealey (2855) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:03PM (#27628909)

    I have a hard time seeing how something larger and more powerful than most of Goddard's devices can be called a "model". Amateur-built, sure. But not a "model".

    sPh

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) *

      The only thing I would say that goes against your point is that this is a 1/10th scale model of a Saturn V. That's enough in my mind to call it a model.

    • Re:A "model" rocket? (Score:4, Informative)

      by pz (113803) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @03:08PM (#27629439) Journal

      I have a hard time seeing how something larger and more powerful than most of Goddard's devices can be called a "model". Amateur-built, sure. But not a "model".

      sPh

      Did you bother to click to the article? It's a model of a Saturn V. A real Saturn V is ten times taller. So, yes, it's a 1:10 scale model of a frelling HUGE rocket, and is therefore quite large on an absolute scale, but it is still a model.

  • by wdhowellsr (530924) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:32PM (#27629131)
    This is not a new process just the biggest yet. There have been FAA clearance to 50k feet out west. The difference between a NASA or Military Rocket and a Model Rocket is one costs billions of dollars and has fail rate of thirty percent. A model rocket cost less than fifty thousand and has a fail rate of fifty percent.

    William D Howell Sr.
    • There's also that other distinguishing factor where one goes into outer space and one reaches an altitude achieved by cessnas.

  • by svnt (697929) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @02:50PM (#27629275)

    I was waiting for an editorial comment to the effect of "knock on wood."

    He could very easily become the person who exploded the largest model rocket before it left the launch pad.

    • Steve Eves will enter the history books as the person who flew the largest model rocket in history.

      . . . or . . .

      He could very easily become the person who exploded the largest model rocket before it left the launch pad.

      Sounds like a win/win to me . . . how does he lose?

  • Is this a copy of the North Korea rocket, or is it even more powerful?

    Which one made it the highest? (not what was reported by N Korea, but actual height reached)

    • The North Korea rocket traveled 1200 miles over Japan before crashing into the ocean. I don't actually know what the altitude reached was.
  • 13 and 77 microseconds? Talk about quick.

    • The abbreviation is the summary is wrong. The correct unit is "Newton seconds" or "Ns", not "ns". Newton-seconds are a measure of impulse, i.e. the average thrust generated times the duration of the motor burn.

      Of course the peak thrust matters too, if it is not greater than the weight of the rocket, the rocket won't lift off of the ground. Any net upward acceleration will only occur during the period the rocket is pointed up and the motor thrust is greater than the weight. Of course the rocket will keep

      • by rrohbeck (944847)

        That's where correct use of units comes in. I was convinced the author meant "Newtons", plural, as in "lbs", for thrust only. But mostly I thought (s)he didn't have a clue if they didn't know their middle school physics so I didn't bother to read on.

  • http://www.nar.org/NARmrsc.html

    Extrapolating from their table of engine sizes, the "site dimensions" would need to be 68 miles across.

    The "escape" clause for rockets of more than one pound seems like a recent addition. Was that there when I was a kid?

  • Google for "MudRock" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FlyingGuy (989135) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <yuggniylf>> on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:16PM (#27630703)

    Every year they launch from BLM land on the Blackrock dessert. On two days the have FAA clearance to 100,000' MSL

    Last year the highest rocket hit 31,000' MSL and hit just pver mach 3. The motor had a burn time of just a little under 4 seconds.

    And yes the FAA issues NOTAM's ( Notice to airman ) with the appropriate lat and long for the launch area.

  • Hire him (Score:3, Funny)

    by tuxgeek (872962) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:35PM (#27630855)
    Maybe N. Korea should hire him
    Considering their most recent attempt was a grand botch-o-lito
    • by lxs (131946)

      Don't be brainwashed by your capitalist pig-dog propaganda. In fact the rocket started its warp drive shortly after takeoff, converted those imperialist Greys to glorious socialism, and founded the Peoples Republic of Zeta Reticuli.

  • FAA Rocketry Rules (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Saturday April 18, 2009 @05:55PM (#27631043)

    The US Federal Aviation Administration rules relevant to unmanned rocketry are in CFR Title 14, 101.21 to 101.27 [gpoaccess.gov]. In 101.22 one finds the definitions of "Model Rocket", "High-Power Rocket", and "Advanced High-Power Rocket" relevant in the United States:

    101.22 Definitions.
    The following definitions apply to this subpart:

    (a) Class 1--Model Rocket means an amateur rocket that:
            (1) Uses no more than 125 grams (4.4 ounces) of propellant;
            (2) Uses a slow-burning propellant;
            (3) Is made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic;
            (4) Contains no substantial metal parts; and
            (5) Weighs no more than 1,500 grams (53 ounces), including the propellant.

    (b) Class 2--High-Power Rocket means an amateur rocket other than a model rocket that is propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 40,960 Newton-seconds (9,208 pound-seconds) or less.

    (c) Class 3--Advanced High-Power Rocket means an amateur rocket other than a model rocket or high-power rocket.

    [Doc. No. FAA-2007-27390, 73 FR 73781, Dec. 4, 2008]

    So according to this taxonomy, Mr. Eves' rocket is an advanced high-power rocket, and is not a model rocket.

  • That sure is some type o' dong.
  • I dunno, the Saturn V required guidance to remain stable. I hope he's done his math, or he could end up X-winging it.
    • I was wondering about that, as well. Every scale model Saturn V I have seen that flew well had fins that were quite a bit larger than scale, often made of clear plastic so as not to be as obtrusive.

      Without active guidance/gimballed engines, the fins are the only thing keeping the rocket flying straight once it clears the launch rail. To develop enough restoring force, they are going to have to be bigger than true scale.

      Stable or not, it's gonna be an exciting flight no matter what! :) Anyone know how far sp

  • Oh, yeh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by actionbastard (1206160) on Saturday April 18, 2009 @09:00PM (#27632395)
    There will be a KABOOM!
  • Calling this a "model rocket" brings up images of kids in an open field clipping leads to chicken-bone igniters.

    OK, this is a "model" because its shell is a scale model of a Saturn V, but calling it a "model rocket" is like calling "stock" styled drag racers "model cars" just because they have a fiberglass model of a street car bolted to their frame.

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