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Qu8k Rockets Above the Balloons

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the want-to-subscribe-to-your-newsletter dept.

Space 153

darkjohnson writes "Lately we've been inundated with 100k' balloon flights and amazing video footage from space — the flights usually taking better than an hour to achieve apogee. Derek Deville took a shortcut to 121k' using a 'home made' Q rocket motor and a ton of engineering genius. On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Qu8k (pronounced 'Quake') launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' in 92 seconds before returning safely to earth.This small documentary on the flight is probably one of the most brilliant Amateur Rocket videos out there right now." The launch was an attempt to claim the Carmack Prize. (And Deville evidently likes to launch another kind of rocket, too.)

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Impressive (3)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654910)

That is pretty much all I can say :)

Re:Impressive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654932)

Agreed. 100,000 balloons is an awful lot for a balloon fight.

Re:Impressive (4, Funny)

cfc-12 (1195347) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655042)

Yes, but it's not exactly rocket science. Oh wait...

Re:Impressive (1)

SmurfButcher Bob (313810) | more than 2 years ago | (#37658312)

It's suborbital ballistic engineering, silly.

Re:Impressive (3, Interesting)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655074)

Agreed!

This is nice. I wonder what it cost to do...

Seeing the epoxy cover over the camera melt off was interesting too; good thing it came off evenly. :)

Re:Impressive (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37657064)

This is nice. I wonder what it cost to do...

I happened to be hanging out last night with one of the camera men who filmed this launch from the ground. Needless to say it is very surprising to see this on Slashdot, it's like having my private life show up here, very weird. Anyway, the answer to your question is "I'm not gonna say" but it was more than $10 thousand.

If you've seen the rocket launch from '08 where Team Numb fired a keg of beer to about 6000 feet, that was a good launch too. I have weird friends.

Re:Impressive (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 2 years ago | (#37659226)

I have weird friends.

I'd say you have great friends.

North of $10K sounds about right. Awesome but expensive.

Re:Impressive (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662860)

Needless to say it is very surprising to see this on Slashdot

Why? It's a clever-but-pointless project by some well off geeky US kids who are helping to undermine the evil government monopoly of space flight. Plus it's named after a classic compyter game. Couldn't be much more slashdot unless they got Linus Torvalds to launch it.

Re:Impressive (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37657538)

    I haven't watched the full video yet. Did it melt from the temperature of the rocket, or from friction with the air? It was apparent that the camera lens had already melted when it got near its apogee.

I'm going to launch my rocket into uranus (0)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654942)

I was convinced that I was about to read about Devilles career as a pornstar when I clicked on that last link.

Homeland Security's gonna love this... (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654946)

Geez, I hope the poor guy doesn't get kidnapped by the Iranians! (Or the Palestinians).

I wonder if he'll be allowed to leave the country (I know someone who works for the NSA who needs to give the State Dept. 3 months prior notice before leaving the U.S. Not sure if this includes Canada). Ok, maybe this rocket isn't state of the art rocketry. And not sure how guided it was. Still 112,000 ft.!

So, is this basically the design of a "Katushka?". Or even earlier the rockets launched by the Soviets in the launchers called "Stalin's Organ"?

Has he tried staging? Is it legal for a private American citizen to put something in orbit? (I guess I'm just kidding, while 112k is a good height, orbit requires a very high horizontal velocity of 5 miles a sec.)

What about launching FROM a balloon? (Although it might be more fun to launch AT a balloon).

Ok, these comments are kinda non-sensical, I just woke up from a nap.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

notmyusualnickname (1221732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654994)

Nonsensical [theregister.co.uk] ?

Possibly.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654998)

While pretty impressive from a home hobbyist point of view (I'm showing this to my wife, I'm nowhere near this bad) - it doesn't break any ground in terms of rocketry. He isn't a state secret, needn't walk around icognito. If you watch the videos of the Libyan war, you see similar devices shot more or less horizontally. As you allude to, staging is much harder. Payloads are harder.

The bungie cord though, is fantastic. So are the little GoPro cameras. One other interesting pointlet is that most of the PCBs seem to be COTS prototyping boards. He's managed to leverage a large amount of over the counter tech for this thing.

Even if he's not doing anything horridly complex (by world standards, at least) it's pretty damned cool.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (5, Interesting)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655056)

One other interesting pointlet is that most of the PCBs seem to be COTS prototyping boards.

And importantly, almost entirely SMT boards. You may think that through-hole components are more robust, but SMT can survive much greater G-loads for the twin reasons of being generally much lower mass, and having a big flat plane of attachment rather than long legs with unattached sections free to bend and fatigue.This has important implications for gun-type space launches: very heavy and very, very expensive monolithic resin electronics blocks are unnecessary, properly mounted SMT boards are sufficient.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655118)

I haven't seen through the hole PCBs on commercial stuff for ages. Unless it's really high power stuff or the company is still using boards from a decade a go. Even for hobbyists, SMT (Surface Mount Technology) is pretty easy. Once you get a nice magnifying glass and some fine tweezers.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655592)

Once you get a nice magnifying glass and some fine tweezers.

And a nice iron. The smaller the tip, the smaller the thermal mass. "big" thru-hole can get away with free running a dumb power resistor across the AC mains. Tiny tips either overheat and self destruct, or have to be retinned every 5 minutes, or get cold and can't heat the pad instantly. Don't need digital display, although its nice, but do need active electronic control of the tip.

It took me decades to get around to buying some rather elaborate Hakko gear, and after about an hour of use I wondered why the heck I waited. There are others out there that are probably just as good.

Also there exists a telecom wire tracing tool that is basically a plastic stick with a L shaped 18 gauge or so stainless steel (solder won't stick) wire sticking out of the end of it. That comes in handy... so you stick the IC or the cap or whatever on the PCB with a touch of solder, then you nudge the device into perfect position with this thing, then let it cool into place before soldering all the other pins.

I prefer SMD over thru-hole. Its frankly easier and faster.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656454)

I thought SMD needed solder baths, robotic chip placers, and all that. Is it possible to do by hand?

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656900)

It's possible to do SMD by hand, but it's also possible to cut your lawn with a pair of scissors.
If you are going to be doing much surface mount work, it's probably in your best interest to at the very least get a hot air reflow station.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37660440)

It's not only possible, it's very common in small & medium volume electronics especially high-end stuff. My boss takes pride in using a 6mm tipped Weller iron (not 0.6mm) to solder 0603 stuff down.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37661958)

I do down to 0402, without any optics other than what comes with my own eyes. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to pull it off, though.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (3, Interesting)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37657976)

The initial learning curve is harder, and you'll want a good soldering iron, but once you've cleared those hurdles hand soldering SMD is a piece of cake.

Reflow soldering is completely hobbyist-accessible too: I use a syringe of solder paste [zeph.com] to put little dots on all the pads, tweezers to place all the components, and then I lay it in a bare aluminum (NO TEFLON!) frying pan. Throw it on the stove for five minutes and pluck the board out with a pair of needle nose pliers (the pan cools too slowly) after all the solder melts.

The surface tension of the melted solder pulls all the components into alignment, so you don't have to place them perfectly. A few pins usually get messed up since I'm not as precise with the syringe as I would be with a stencil, but I just inspect with a cheap loupe and clean up any mistakes manually. Other people use toaster ovens with much success, but I've found the frying pan works great for single-sided boards.

Honestly I find it's much less tedious than through-hole soldering, and I love having access to all the cool SMD ICs that you just can't get in DIP packages. The only problem is that prototyping is a bitch. If you want to breadboard a SMD IC you have to make a SMD to DIP adapter board first. But I usually don't bother: I just design my board, get one made [batchpcb.com] , manually kludge around any mistakes by lifting pins and soldering in fine wires until I get it working (usually only one or two wires per board), and then get a final one made.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37658270)

I've hand-soldered even the smallest pitch surface mount packages, and the only limiting factor is the soldering iron. As long as the leads are exposed, they can be hand soldered. However "QFN" (quad-flatpack-no-leads), "DFN" (dual-flatpack-no-leads), and "BGA" (ball-grid-array) packages cannot be hand soldered, because the leads are underneath the package - between the ceramic and the PCB. It's impossible to put the soldering iron on the leads.

Hmmm. (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37659166)

I got a reworked prototype ECU from Motorola that had 4 really tiny wires coming out from underneath the MPC555 processor. Some of them from the 4th row in on the BGA! There was more stuff rerouted under the chip as well!

Now I'm a pretty darn good solderer, and not too bad at rework, but I really really wanted to shake the guys (super steady) hand that pulled that one off!

Cheers

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656498)

Take a look in your microwave or (high tech) toaster. Through-hole is still cheaper for simple things, and finds a lot of use in cheap consumer products.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656202)

Yes, vacuum tube circuits are sufficient. In WWII proximity fuzes were mounted in artillery shells. Nothing new here, move along. But I'll betcha some Space Nutters are gonna come barging in here wondering how long it would take to colonize the Galaxy in 100,000 ft increments.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37658366)

I see you still haven't gotten an account. Join ussss.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655350)

it doesn't break any ground in terms of rocketry

It would have been a lot more impressive if the videos had been shot with a handheld camera.

I know we're supposed to be all gung ho for private space exploration, but I'm just not catching the fever yet.

Wake me when one of the "private" space outfits finally puts a human being in space.

Still, as a lifelong model rocketeer, I give this Qu8k guy lots of props for reaching over 100k'.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (3, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655814)

Wake me when one of the "private" space outfits finally puts a human being in space

So you are suggesting that the efforts of Burt Rutan didn't qualify as "putting people into space? You also think that "Space Adventures" is a science fiction magazine?

While I'll admit it has taken longer for regular sub-orbital flights to happen since the Ansari X-Prize, private citizens have been able to get into space and even orbit. And of those who have been able to into space on their own dime (or that of a private employer), passenger spacecraft have been able to get above the Kármán line.

I agree, this particular rocket, the Qu8k, isn't especially amazing other than it has done something that few have done before on their own. 100k feet is a remarkable accomplishment, and the fact that these guys did that accomplishment on a rather limited budget is all that more amazing. Assuming they could put this into production, they have a viable sounding rocket if they care.... something which has an established market if they would care to get into that kind of business.

The interesting thing here is likely how cheap it was to build this rocket, at least compared to other vehicles of this size and performance.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

Aardpig (622459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656466)

Has there been a private flight into orbit? I.e., not using national-level spacecraft?

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656650)

You're such a gullible and naive little Space Nutter. Keep fucking that chicken, "private space" will never happen beyond party favors for bored billionaires.

You're adorable, I'd like to pinch your cheeks!

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37657320)

private citizens have been able to get into space and even orbit

When has there been a private project which put a human into orbit? Did I miss a week's worth of headlines?

You'll have to excuse me. The "private" development of space is a special hobby-horse of mine. Considering how poorly "private industry" has behaved here on Earth lately, I'm not all that jacked about the prospect of them conquering space. I'm trying to think about some portion of the planet that hasn't been fouled in the name of the shareholder value of a very small portion of the population, and I'm not really coming up with anything. I was on the Louisiana Gulf Coast last month and the fishing and wildlife still haven't recovered. Tar marks the tide in areas where you used to be sure to see egrets. And that's just one small examples. It's not that private industry is necessarily bad, it's just that they are never necessarily careful.

As someone who enjoys amateur astronomy, and as the son and grandson and father of other amateur astronomers (and hopefully grandfather someday), I'm not all that anxious to see "private industry" do to the solar system what they've done to Gary, Indiana, Benton Harbor, Michigan or Calumet City, Illinois.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37660390)

Wake me when one of the "private" space outfits finally puts a human being in space.

This seems like a fairly arbitrary success criteria. Why not a lemur? Or one of those big ass tortoises from the Galapagos Is.?

I'm pretty sure I saw footage of humans being launched into space before - it's been done before, so doing it again would hardly be groundbreaking either.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37660752)

I'm pretty sure I saw footage of humans being launched into space before - it's been done before, so doing it again would hardly be groundbreaking either.

Sending a vehicle into orbit has been done before too, but as soon as SpaceX did it, it was huge news. It was hardly groundbreaking since there is footage of NASA doing it FIFTY YEARS AGO.

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37658512)

While pretty impressive from a home hobbyist point of view (I'm showing this to my wife, I'm nowhere near this bad) - it doesn't break any ground in terms of rocketry. He isn't a state secret, needn't walk around icognito. If you watch the videos of the Libyan war, you see similar devices shot more or less horizontally. As you allude to, staging is much harder. Payloads are harder.

That was my reaction as well. It's a sounding rocket. A very impressive, totally DIY sounding rocket, but still a sounding rocket. You can find footage from sixty years ago of people doing exactly the same thing out in the desert.

(Not trying to put down their achievement, just pointing out that provided they don't fire it into controlled airspace, no-one's going to bat an eyelid).

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655846)

Yes they are non-sensicle. 1) You need 6.94 miles per second for 'escape velocity' not 5. :
F=m*dv/dt=m*dv/ds*ds/dt=m*dv/ds*v,
thus
m*v*dv/ds = -mg*R^2/s^2
and
v*dv= -g*R^2*s^-2*ds
and
integral(v*dv) = -g*R^2 * integral(s^-2*ds)
so
(v^2)/2 = (g*R^2)/s + C
now when v=vo (the velocity of the rocket at launch time, the rocket isn't moving yet, but immediately about to)
then s=R (the distance from the center of the earth to the rocket is the distance from the center of the earth to the edge of the earth...the rocket is still on the ground), and so
C=1/2*(vo)^2 = -gR.
Consequently, v^2=(2*g*R^2)/s + (vo)^2 - 2gR
finally, since (2*g*R^2)/s gets small with increasing s, we see that v remains positive if and only if vo >= (2*g*R)^.5

In imperial, the radius (R) of the earth is 3956.088331 miles (approximately).
In imperial, acceleration due to gravity is 32.17404856 feet per second squared (approximately), and this is
6.093569802 x10^-3 miles per second squared.
Thus, escape velocity is greater than (or equal to) (2*g*R)^.5 = (2 * 6.093569802 x10^-3 * 3956.088331) ^ .5
which is 6.943587025 miles per second. So there! You *DID* just wake up from a nap, didn't you!

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37659192)

awesome, thanks!

people who can really crunch through numbers amaze me.

Do you have a newsletter?

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

spasm (79260) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655870)

Rocket launched from a balloon? Done for decades:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockoon [wikipedia.org]

Re:Homeland Security's gonna love this... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656260)

Geez, I hope the poor guy doesn't get kidnapped by the Iranians! (Or the Palestinians).

These days id be more worried about my own government coming to collect him. Then squelching his works, and tracking down everyone that has ever looked at it.

Even if you could accomplish it, I really doubt you can put something into orbit, as you will then breach other countries 'airspace' and create a 'space h hazard'. Of course once its up, all they can do is shoot it back down.

did he win the prize? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37654956)

well...did he?
I read about the prize after the video and now I know why he put 4 GPS in there...

Gr8t (1)

mmullings (1142559) | more than 2 years ago | (#37654966)

F'n awesome....coolest thing I've seen in a while.

Outstanding! (2)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655032)

That's manly.

Every aspect of that rocket was impressive, the construction, the flight profile, the telemetry, and especially the recovery. Total success.

Having lost more Estes rockets than I can remember in corn fields and cow pastures 40+ years ago, all I could think of all the way up was: "How the fsck is he ever going to find that thing again?" When they drove up to a totally intact rocket in the middle of the desert, whooping all the way, I could totally identify. That was a jaw dropping moment for me.

Well done, sirs.

Re:Outstanding! (2)

mmontour (2208) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655194)

"How the fsck is he ever going to find that thing again?"

It helps if the rocket has a GPS receiver and is broadcasting its position over APRS [wikipedia.org] . At 08:23 you can see a short clip of them receiving a position report on what looks like a Kenwood TH-D7A handheld transceiver.

Re:Outstanding! (2)

dbc (135354) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655374)

That's the easy part. When you consider the altitude he reached, bringing down in the same state is a challenge. Telemetry is the easy part of rocketry.

Qu8K= Quake? what about Kuwait-K ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655044)

Qu8K is pronounced "Quake"? surely "Kuwait-K" or "Kw-eight-K" ? My immediate reaction was that it was a bunch of guys out in Kuwait doing this... ... well, whatever you want to call it sir, you built it, and fair play to you for getting such an altitude. Congratulations, here's to amateur enthusiasts!

in new money: 36880 metres (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655064)

Congratulations, here's to amateur rocketeers and other hackers doing interesting things.

For those of you in countries using metric measurement systems for space engineering, that's 36,880 metres approximately.

Re:in new money: 36880 metres (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655178)

Let's do this right, mkay? Don't use thousand-delimiters. One man's decimal marker is another man's digit group marker. I can probably use a slingshot to shoot something 36,880m straight up, because that's not even 37m. 36880m on the other hand...

Re:in new money: 36880 metres (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656258)

Let's do this right, mkay? Don't use thousand-delimiters. One man's decimal marker is another man's digit group marker. I can probably use a slingshot to shoot something 36,880m straight up, because that's not even 37m. 36880m on the other hand...

Do use 1000's delimiters, it makes numbers much easier to use. Just usr the neutral ones, i.e. a space (preferably non breaking (*)).

121 000 feet is 37 000 metres.

Or save breath and say 37 Km.

(* of coursemslashdot fucks that up....)

Re:in new money: 36880 metres (3, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655452)

It's 183 furlongs, ok?

Re:in new money: 36880 metres (1)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656418)

Balloons can go quite a bit higher, the current amateur record is just above 40km. But even so, you can't beat a rocket for sheer style :-)

Why so few comments??? (2)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655072)

Everyone is over checking out the pics, videos and documentation. Some of the folks that actually understand flight math won't be back on Slashdot til tomorrow.

Thank you for the (no lame music) (5, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655104)

Thanks d3deville for the kick-ass rocket video. Double thanks for leaving the audio track blissfully free of crappy pop/rock/punk/rave background music that infests so many Youtube airplane/rocket videos.

Although personally I think if you had added the soundtrack from The Right Stuff movie (orchestral piece from end of the movie during Gordo Cooper's launch), it would've made your excellent video even more awesome, I suspect that people who do not share my tastes in music might have been put off.

Re:Thank you for the (no lame music) (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655386)

Not put off because I don't share your taste in music, but I am put off because you took a cheap jab at mine - I like a lot of the 'crappy' pop/rock/punk/rave music. Also happen to like orchestral music as well. And yeah, I get why you might not want a music background. It's cool.

Re:Thank you for the (no lame music) (2)

dotbot (2030980) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655788)

The raw in-flight sound really makes this video brilliant. The rocket splutters and then eerie silence.. for a few seconds. Mesmerizing stuff...

SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655120)

Is the "other kind of rocket" link SFW?

Re:SFW? (1)

Discopete (316823) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655220)

yeah, it's to fireworks displays.

Re:SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655504)

... in his pants!

Re:SFW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656294)

Fireworks in his pants? Is he having a party in there? Are we invited to the pants party?

Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655140)

Sorry but Qu8k is not pronounced "Quake" no matter how hard you try.

US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655168)

Sad, really.
But great achievement and impressive feat he pulled with that rocket. Really nice.

Re:US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655378)

When you launch a rocket, you can choose the units of measure. At least it converts clean, unlike the whole MiB vs MB crap.

Re:US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656296)

What countries in the "3rd word" use imperial units?

Re:US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656926)

What countries in the "3rd word" use imperial units?

I actually meant to say "US still doesn't use metric system, just like only some 3rd world countries".
As for reference to that, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrication
It's only US, Burma and Liberia that don't officially use the metric system.

Re:US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37657172)

from what I've heard from people that have spent time in Liberia the metric system is actually in use there.

Re:US still uses imperial units like the 3rd world (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662242)

The UK.

Lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655206)

We've been doing this since the end of WWII when Americans put cameras on captured V-2s. Sooo..... It's impressive that our energy sources and materials have stayed the same since 70 years? Hmm, and Space Nutters think we'll colonize the galaxy like this?

Re:Lately? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655382)

Governments have been doing it since WW2. Regular people have only been doing it lately, and at a MUCH reduced cost.

It took me some 10 to 15 minutes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655310)

... to understand what 100k' is.

Then there was the trollish comment about the metric system ("you're part of the problem").

This is the higher art form of trolling: using the truth.

And finally, someone goes like "I'm all for the metric system but I hope you're trolling".

I used to do this as a joke: "Ok, I'm all for women liberation, but do we get to have a woman as a chief?!?"... but that was a joke: people noticed the tone and from knowing me, as I am male but totally not xenophobic.

Now, things in the USA are just the opposite: "ok, the metric system is cool and better, but we aren't really going to use it, are we? Not for real, isn't it?"

This is going to change with a moonwalk, you pretend you'll evolve, just like not today... it's like promising you'll marry the girl and keep promising for years.

Lamest.

What was covering the lens? (1)

mikech2000 (1230790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655314)

Anyone know what was covering the lens?

Re:What was covering the lens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655550)

The printed plastic camera shroud melted over the lens during the firing of the last stage. They had intended to go with an aluminum camera shroud but didn't have time to manufacture it, instead they used the printed prototype shroud.

Re:What was covering the lens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655678)

A 3D-printed part melted. He was going to machine something out of metal but ran out of time.

Re:What was covering the lens? (5, Informative)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655710)

The part holding the cameras was made from plastic, because he didn't have enough time to machine it. It melted when the rocket hit mach 3+, because of the compression shock wave that formed in front of it. (Commonly misreported in the media as "air friction")

Essentially, the plastic thing poked out of the rocket. The mach 3+ air had to be brought to a dead stop right in front of it. The way it does that is by forming a high pressure shock right in front of it. Basic physics, when you compress air is gets hot - in this case, melting the plastic rocket bits...

WOW... (1)

elkto (558121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655390)

I have not seen footage like this since the Reaction Research Shot! Love the mechanical "noise" in the absence of air. With Frank Kosden gone, I have to wonder, who built the motor for you?

Again Excellent!

Balloon + rocket (1)

mu22le (766735) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655466)

What this guy did is awesome, but for a second while reading the summary I got confused and hoped that someone had mounted a rocket on a balloon to be ignited when the balloon is about to reach its peak altitude. THAT would have been absolutely awesome!

Re:Balloon + rocket (1)

ctid (449118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655712)

I think that LOHAN on theregister is supposed to do that. Initial announcement [theregister.co.uk]

This is Slashdot (1)

OverkillTASF (670675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655494)

And this is the best thing I've ever seen on it. I wish I could put this in the Slashdot survey as an example of the kind of stuff I come to Slashdot for. No, it's not breaking new ground, but this guy and his friends did a nerd thing just for the hell of it. And that's what we do. He planned it well, it executed well, and the way it was shared with us was awesome. That said... Why did the Go-Pro shield melt on the way up? Was it the heat conducted through the tube from the burning engines or something?

Re:This is Slashdot (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655576)

Why did the Go-Pro shield melt on the way up? Was it the heat conducted through the tube from the burning engines or something?

Air friction. That thing went nearly 1 km/s in still quite dense air.

If you look at the details, you can see the shield melted from the outside in.
It was also meant to be made out of machined metal, but they apparently had
to go with the 3D printed plastic prototype due to time constraints.

Re:This is Slashdot (1)

OverkillTASF (670675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655682)

Even more awesome.

Re:This is Slashdot (1)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655684)

He was going Mach 3+ - the plastic melted from the heat from the mach shock wave. (Typically reported incorrectly in the media as "air friction")

Guidence (4, Insightful)

dharma21 (537631) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655562)

The most amazing part for me is that there seems to be no steering mechanism for this rocket. The fact that this was machined so well to withstand those speeds, maintain proper telemetry and not spin out of control/crash to earth, etc. is a testament to the builders. With that type of airflow, any slight imperfection in the fins would have made this a very short or nausea inducing video. Instead we get to view beautiful images of the planet we live in.

"Better than an hour" (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655776)

Which is "better than an hour", 59 minutes or 61 minutes, and why is it better?

Re:"Better than an hour" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37659620)

Don't be a dick.

Re:"Better than an hour" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37659676)

Depends what you're trying to do. Half-marathon: shorter is better. Pig orgasm: longer is better.

Re:"Better than an hour" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37659744)

better [yahoo.com]
ADVERB:
3. More: It took me better than a year to recover.

A nice little sounding rocket (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655958)

Sounding rockets [wikipedia.org] in this size have been around for a while. The first one was the Aerobee sounding rocket in 1947. It reached 117500m. One of the smaller Aerobee variants of the 1950s was about this size. There have been many small sounding rockets over the decades; the UK and Australia launched a lot of them.

k'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37655992)

"Kilofeet"? Is that what we're going with?

C'mon USA, it's the twenty-first freakin' century.

Quatekay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656128)

Qu8k (pronounced 'Quake')

As soon as you need someone to tell you how to pronounce something, it should be a message that they got it wrong!

Once the rockets are up up... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656144)

Who cares where they come down.
"Thats not my department"
Says Wernher von Braun

Tom Lehrer - Wernher von Braun [youtube.com]

Not impressive (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656422)

First, balloons can go up to about 300-400k feet (which are the theoretical limits of buoyant objects in our atmosphere) though I don't know of balloons currently going much past 170k feet. Second, there is no limit to a rocket's altitude. If it hits escape velocity for Earth, it's leaving.

I don't understand the submitter's (darkjohnson) contempt for balloons, but 120k feet is not that significant for a rocket.

Re:Not impressive (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656570)

I don't understand the submitter's (darkjohnson) contempt for balloons, but 120k feet is not that significant for a rocket.

Balloons are slow and low-tech, hence the contempt. As rockets go, this was about as simple as it gets. 1940's technology at best, except for the 1970's propellant formulation. However, do not underestimate the difficulty of getting a small solid-propellant rocket to 120,000 feet. The apparatus may be rudimentary, but do not forget that this thing reached almost mach 3, literally faster than most bullets. The plastic camera cowling melted from the adiabatic stagnation temperature of the shockwave that formed over it. The engineering and fabrication techniques required to keep something in one piece under those conditions are pretty challenging. With that said, it would be infinitely cooler if it were liquid propellant.

Re:Not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37657414)

infinitely cooler with liquid propellant? Was this just a long way to go for a pun?

I for one have no clue why the type of propellent an amateur uses has any bearing on how impressive the height of his rocket was.

Re:Not impressive (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37658298)

Balloons are slow and low-tech

Part of my indignation is because I launch high altitude weather balloons for a non-profit. The basic technology for these balloons is similar in age to solid propellant rockets. Sure, balloons are slow, but they have other advantages and disadvantages compared to rockets.

The engineering and fabrication techniques required to keep something in one piece under those conditions are pretty challenging.

Having actually made a sounding rocket that was intended to launch under similar conditions (and failed, I might add), I appreciate what you're saying. Balloons don't push the envelop as much, but they do have their own engineering challenges.

Re:Not impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656686)

I'm guessing you read slashdot for much more interesting stories like this: http://apple.slashdot.org/story/11/10/09/1826211/iphone-4s-pre-orders-sell-out

Or perhaps you could link us to the impressive stuff you've done?

Re:Not impressive (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37658178)

Heh, I work with these guys [jpaerospace.com] . And needless to say, we put balloons up to 100k (including paying customers!) and occasionally launch small rockets at those altitudes.

Re:Not impressive (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37660284)

And I helped make the shell for a sounding rocket (unfortunately, it failed at launch) for these guys [pdx.edu] . Normally, I'm as blowhard as the next guy, but this is an area in which I actually have significant experience.

Science. (1)

sidragon.net (1238654) | more than 2 years ago | (#37656672)

You can, yourself, verify scientific claims. All it takes is time for the right technologies to become available to you.

love it but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37656710)

how does one pronounce quake from qu8k? that would be quatek or quatekee wouldn't it?

He Could Be in Big Trouble ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37658428)

It is illegal to send an amateur rocket to an altitude of over 100,000 feet. The US signed an international treaty back in the 1960's that basically dealt with who is responsible if a rocket were to come down on foreign soil and cause damage. In short, anything that goes above 100,000 feet needs to be :

* Launched from an official US space port
* Cleared by the United States State Department
* Insured
* and a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting.

I should also point out that if you are a U.S. citizen, you can't simply go and launch your rocket from Palau because according to the treaty U.S. citizen's can't "cause to be launched" rockets that go above 100,000 feet without meeting the above requirements either.

the motor (1)

pngai (561529) | more than 2 years ago | (#37659188)

I'm impressed that he makes his own rocket motors (along with all the other stuff).

Restrictions on Civilian GPS (2)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | more than 2 years ago | (#37660528)

I wonder how they planned to get around the restrictions on civilian GPS. Whilst I'm sure they took this into account (at least I hope both they and John Carmack did) is that civilian GPS receivers are limited to speeds quite a bit below their speed, and altitudes of around half of the achieved altitude:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Positioning_System#Restrictions_on_civilian_use [wikipedia.org]

"The U.S. Government controls the export of some civilian receivers. All GPS receivers capable of functioning above 18 kilometres (11 mi) altitude and 515 metres per second (1,001 kn) are classified as munitions (weapons) for which U.S. State Department export licenses are required."

3,516 km/h is just over 975 m/sec and they estimate an altitude of more than twice the restricted altitude.

Scary shit (1)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662842)

After having just flown between Las Vegas and Chicago. The idea of a commercial plane running into an "amateur" ballon or rocket and the subsequent catastrophy has me wondering when this "viral" activity will end up going terribly wrong. I guess it will continue untill that point. It has even been in commercials on TV as a wonderful activity that companies are using to sell product.

But then I am a compputer programmer and we look at these sorts of failures.

Watch the skys.

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