Showing posts from August, 2020

First Flights

The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues...Most of us have flown an Estes Rocket kit before, and so we are familiar with the small blurb on the packaging and certainly in the instructions that cite two or three motors that the model will fly on.  It's my understanding that these motors are: Currently in production (at the time the kit is produced)Designed to "fit" in the unaltered kit, andTested in "Open Rocket"  or similar RocSim program The  company has done all the hard work for you... taking into account the area of the fins, the location of the center of propulsion, the center of gravity, the length of the body tube, the weight of the constructed model... everything assumed to be as they designed and intended the kit to be assembled.
Now, if you've deviated from the plans, or made a special modification, you're gonna have to factor those changes into the rocket simulation program and see what it recommends for your motors to effectively fly the bird sa…

There is Another...

The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues...Many decades ago, there was a nifty science fiction movie that appeared at my local drive in theater when I was a teen.  "Colossus: The Forbin Project" was a great piece of  doomsday/ cold war speculation that featured the outstanding actor Eric Braeden as Charles Forbin.  The movie was taken from the first of the Colossus trilogy of books, and remains as one of my favorites.The reason why I mention this, is because after the USA converts all of it's defense capabilities to a supercomputer named "Colossus", the very first thing that it does when it is switched on  is state, "THERE IS ANOTHER SYSTEM...."The plot doesn't go exactly where Skynet in the Terminator goes, but it is shocking that the computer immediately recognizes that the Soviets have also been building their own version of a super computer. It's not long before the two systems want a link so that they can "talk". Danger ensues.Well…

The Crayon

The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues...
Recently I had an adventure recovering a "Crayon Bank" rocket which offered some challenges.

The Fire Brigade

The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues...
It's not unusual to hear the call "All eyes on the pad" at a club rocket launch, either when a new rocket is being launched for the first time, or when there's something suspect about this launch.
We want everyone on their feet and aware, if something should go wrong, and be ready to respond.
But recently, I heard another request, "Need volunteers for the fire brigade", when a larger rocket was being launched on a "smokey".   Actually, I think it was a "sparky", which was much more of a concern.
As I understand it, these high power motors are manufactured to actually produce either a smokey trail or a sparkler flame jet on assent.  This is done for effect, for visibility, and is selected along with the motor at the time of purchase.

The need for a "fire brigade" was something I wasn't aware of.  Preparations for the "sparky" launch included:
Wetting down the ground around the laun…

The Simplest Tripod

OK, here's a simple question.... What's the fewest number of legs a tripod can have?
Stumped at how obviously simple the question is?
Think again...
Let's ask it another way:  What's the simplest launch tripod a rocketeer can make?
Not so easy, eh?
Let me assure you that people have been trying to re-invent the wheel on this one since Verne put the first match to a motor. (I know, it didn't really happen.... but they keep trying...)
Or put another way, to build a better mouse-trap.   One that is simple, efficient, low-cost, and collapsible.
OK, so you can't have it all, but you can experiment.
I recently heard that the cheapest rocket launching rod was a coat hanger that had been straightened out and just stuck in the ground.  That's it. Nothing more, period.
Now, not only do I not think that you can straighten a wire coat hanger out enough to get rid of the kinks where it was bent... but I think the risk of damage from rocket blast escaping onto the ground is somet…

The Rocket Eating Tree

The Thrifty Rocketeer blog continues...
Gosh, will you look at the calendar.... here it is August already, and we still haven't had a decent rocket launch.  This pandemic quarantine just never seems to come to an end...
All kidding aside, rocket launches may be one of the more safe type of activities that you can do as a group, considering that most adults drive their own vehicle to the launch site... set up at least 10 feet apart from other at their trunk or drop-down tail gate...and walk out to the launch pad alone.  Still, clubs are requiring masks, and wiping down launch control surfaces, and providing hand sanitizer as well.
And that's a good thing.
Which brings us to today's topic.
Back in the 1960s, Charles Schultz  had an enormously successful comic strip which he initially called "little folk".  When his editor saw the drawings, he remarked, "why, they're just Peanuts." And the name stuck.
Peanuts, including a dog that rode his do…