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Amateur Rocketeer Derek Deville's Qu8k Rocket Flies to 120,000+ Feet (Video)

Roblimo posted more than 2 years ago | from the up-up-and-away dept.

Space 165

Derek Deville is a rocket hobbyist. A lot of us have messed with Estes Model Rockets, which start at about $13 for a pre-assembled rocket that can go 800 feet straight up. Derek's rockets are on a whole different level. His personal rocket altitude record is closer to 33 miles, which is about 150 times as high as the entry-level Estes rocket -- and takes more than 150 times as much effort to build and launch. Derek's employer, Syntheon LLC, helps him out a lot with tools and materials. Lots of other people help him, too. Derek has been mentioned on Slashdot before. This video is a chance to get to know him a bit better. And anyone who shoots rockets to the top of the Stratosphere for fun is worth knowing, right?

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165 comments

Fastest Deville I've ever seen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286865)

Car analogy not required!

ROBLIMO IS A DOUCHE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287117)

"Derek Deville builds amazing rockets. For fun."
 
Ooooooh, dude, you ever thought about going to school to be an ENGLISH MAJOR? Man, wonderful Slashdot post and even more wonderful subtitle for the video. I just love the Ivy-league diction, builds amazing rockets. And how you make the statement, for fun, so bold and powerful by making it its own sentence. So inspired.

Re:ROBLIMO IS A DOUCHE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287245)

It's posts like this that keep me coming back to Slashdot.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:ROBLIMO IS A DOUCHE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288775)

My favorite part was when the slashdot banner obscured the only shot from the ground of the rocket heading skyward

Re:ROBLIMO IS A DOUCHE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289487)

"So inspired." and using commas to quote someone... man, do I see your point! Plus, I bet I would have understood this paragraph SOOOO much better if he had gotten that degree and used "the Ivy-league diction" that you appear to be requesting (?) . ... Don't worry, one day you too will get that "ENGLISH MAJOR" and also create awesome slashdot posts that we can ALL enjoy! :)

Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (3, Informative)

luvirini (753157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286931)

and his toys are definitely not on the cheaper side.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287247)

Hobby? Hopefully this guy is well appointed and known to DHS..

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (4, Funny)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287279)

He should have put all his money into an unnecessarily large house, like a normal person.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288151)

At least he will get a bailout unlike someone whom launches their money away.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288669)

What's the return on investment on a used rocket?

ROI on a used rocket? Stellar. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289079)

What's the return on investment on a used rocket?

>What's the return on investment on a used rocket?

Let's see. Two guys apply for a high paying engineering job. One has a degree. The other is a world class rocket builder. Who get the job?

Two guys date the same hot girl. One has a nice house. The bother is a world class rocket builder with high paying engineering job. Who gets the girl?

I'd say its a pretty good investment. Of course, he could play safe and invest in housing instead. Because we all know that house values never go down.

Re:ROI on a used rocket? Stellar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289293)

This guy is awesome, but let's not pretend his skill set will trump any other candidate's across all "high paying engineering jobs". It might in many cases, but not all.

Re:ROI on a used rocket? Stellar. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289333)

Let's see. Two guys apply for a high paying engineering job. One has a degree. The other is a world class rocket builder. Who get the job?

The guy with the degree of course. HR will throw the other resume out.

Two guys date the same hot girl. One has a nice house. The bother is a world class rocket builder with high paying engineering job. Who gets the girl?

The guy with the big house of course. "Hey want to come back to my place and relax in my hot tub?" Or "Hey want to see my rocket? --SLAP"

You really need to re-adjust your perspective of what is attractive to women and employers.

Re:ROI on a used rocket? Stellar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289583)

if the rocket builder can actually perform the calculations to prove that his work is safe, him. Otherwise he would not only be worthless as an engineer, but a liability. Technician or consultant, sure.
anyone with experience can build a building that will stand, it takes an engineer to build one that will barely stand.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290039)

Depends on what you blow up with it.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290555)

If living in an expensive home were a good investment, it would be cheaper in the long run to live in an expensive home than a cheaper one. If that were true, the only rational thing to do would be to buy the most expensive house possible. If people did that, housing prices would skyrocket and create an unsustainable bubble. Then prices would unavoidably collapse and people would owe more on their homes than they're worth, thus becoming a horrible investment.

If living in a really nice home is what you value in life, go ahead and spend your money on it. But if you think you'll be paid to live there, you're most likely wrong.

Re:Rockets are fun, but fairly expensive as hobby (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287821)

Disappointing: when I read "Rocketeer" I thought this guy would strap a rocket on his shoulder and fly that high over Hollywood. Bummer! Now that would have been something else

mannequins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286941)

What I really want to know is the deal around the body parts strewn all over his shop.

I had no idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286949)

...that Alton Brown was into rockets too!

Honestly, (-1, Troll)

zarlino (985890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39286963)

I'm not interested in knowing a guy that pollutes air and makes a lot of noise for his pointless and childish hobby. Real nerds feel free to mod me down.

Re:Honestly, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39286971)

wah

Re:Honestly, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287065)

How old are you?

Re:Honestly, (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287181)

I have done effluent studies for rockets of this size and they produce about 70 pounds of water, about a pound or two of HCl, about 12 pounds of aluminum oxide, and about 4 pounds of carbon or so and some other mostly benign stuff per 100 pounds propellant. To put this in perspective they pollute less than a big rig running for one hour and do so in very remote areas where the material disperses to immeasurable levels immediately.

To the folks that are concerned about stratospheric pollution, these rockets burn out in the air and coast about 2/3 of the altitude or so.

Pollution from rockets is a straw man argument. There are too few flown worldwide to ever matter.

JJ

Re:Honestly, (5, Funny)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287847)

[quote]and do so in very remote areas where the material disperses to immeasurable levels immediately[/quote]

You might as well fire it off in LA then since you won't be able to measure the change there either.

Re:Honestly, (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288899)

I bet you could measure the damage caused when it lands

So putting it into perspective ... (2, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287873)

... in 30 seconds this tiny little rocket manages to output almost the same amount of pollutants as a 40 ton truck produces in an hour? And you think thats clean??

I've nothing against this guy and his hobby, it looks fun, but please, lets not pretend that rockets are the slightest bit enviromentally friendly!

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288979)

... in 30 seconds this tiny little rocket manages to output almost the same amount of pollutants as a 40 ton truck produces in an hour? And you think thats clean??

I've nothing against this guy and his hobby, it looks fun, but please, lets not pretend that rockets are the slightest bit enviromentally friendly!

It's worth noting here that pretending the rockets are environmentally friendly, is less of a fraud than pretending they are environmentally dangerous.

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (2)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289119)

And this tiny little rocket is only going to be burning for 30 seconds at most once every few months, whereas that 40 ton truck is going to be running for hours and hours on end, every day, with 10s of millions of peers.

The rocket simply doesn't even register.

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289331)

Sure, but when it is running its approximately 3600/30 = 120 times more polluting than a vehicle that weighs something like 200 times its weight. Those are not good figures for any form of propulsion.

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (4, Insightful)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289463)

The two aren't even close to comparable, for two reasons: 1.) That's only valid if you're comparing two means to accomplish the same goal. If someone was suggesting moving cargo on land via rocket-power, your complaints would almost be justified (except, see below), but these accomplish completely seperate goals. Come up with a less polluting way to get into space, we'll certainly listen to you.

2.) You're comparing pollution per time, not pollution per mile. If you want a fair comparison, you want the total amount of pollution to accomplish the task. If I could (theoretically) come up with a rocket system that can move cargo along a 60-mile track in less than 30 seconds, compared to a truck that'd take an hour to do it, I still come out ahead even though the rocket pollutes more per second than the truck.

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289665)

"Come up with a less polluting way to get into space, we'll certainly listen to you."

It didn't go into space. Helium balloons can go just as high using zero fuel.

"come up with a rocket system that can move cargo along a 60-mile track in less than 30 seconds, compared to a truck that'd take an hour to do it, I still come out ahead even though the rocket pollutes more per second than the truck"

Unlikely. Say the truck does 2 mpg - that'll be 30 gallons of fuel. There is no way that a rocket would get even close to using that little fuel to push 40 tons 60 miles along the ground at sea level.

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290003)

And the Helium came from where? Extracted and mined how environmentally friendly?

Re:So putting it into perspective ... (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289637)

In that 30 seconds, the rocket traveled 22 miles.

No HCl or Al2O3 involved here.... (2)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288423)

His motor was a hybrid, using liquid nitrous oxide as an oxidizer and cast phenolic as a fuel grain.

The HCl and Al2O3 would be found in the exhaust of a more conventional ammonium perchlorate composite motor, not a hybrid.

Re:Honestly, (2)

jitterman (987991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287303)

That would be everyone who drives for pleasure.

Re:Honestly, (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288663)

I'm not interested in knowing a guy that pollutes air and makes a lot of noise for his pointless and childish hobby. Real nerds feel free to mod me down.

Everybody knows Rocket smoke isn't pollution and road-trip food like Chilli-Cheese Fries don't make you fat!

Scan to 2:37 for a shot of his PE resin girlfriend (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287071)

Seriously, I really cannot imagine why this is in a rocket shot next to the other PE resin stuff. My best guess is that he was ordering from a shop and they said, "hey do you want a couple of cast lady parts *with* nipples?" Seriously, why include nipples. I bet there was a reason the lower half was turned around away from the camera.

Yes, mod this troll/offtopic, but this is a bio of his shop/life, so I thought it was relevant. Msg to fellow nerds, have a girl do a walk through inspection before camera's roll in.

Re:Scan to 2:37 for a shot of his PE resin girlfri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287443)

Msg to fellow nerds, have a girl do a walk through inspection before camera's roll in.

I'm sorry.. a true nerd does not know any girls and if they did, no girl would want to cooperate. Who do you think those lady part casts were bought for???

Re:Scan to 2:37 for a shot of his PE resin girlfri (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287973)

What's wrong with nipples? Most shop mannequins where I live have them.

Re:Scan to 2:37 for a shot of his PE resin girlfri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288023)

Seriously, I really cannot imagine why this is in a rocket shot next to the other PE resin stuff. My best guess is that he was ordering from a shop and they said, "hey do you want a couple of cast lady parts *with* nipples?"

Female nipples eh? I'm just glad we didn't get to see a different kind of resin cast of his other rocket parts!

Re:Scan to 2:37 for a shot of his PE resin girlfri (2)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289015)

1.) He mentions "Beside that stack of manequins" earlier in the video.

2.) He works for a MEDICAL SUPPLY COMPANY. I can't imagine they'd have any reason to prodouce various fascimilies of the human body. None at all come to mind...

Advanced, High-Power Rockets (4, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287083)

Derek's rockets are on a whole different level.

To be sure. Derek's rockets are classified by US Federal Aviation Administration regulations as "Advanced, High-Power Rockets", not Model Rockets. See CFR Part 14, 101.22 [gpo.gov] .

Is it considered safe for a hamster passenger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287517)

I always wanted to put hamsters in rockets..

flash (0)

zag2me (1498967) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287091)

Please stop using flash for these videos arghhhhh

Re:flash (1, Troll)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287183)

Sorry, unless you're within Apple's reality distortion field, Flash is the web standard for video players.

Would you rather they used Microsoft Silverlight?

HTML5 (1)

CaptainHayashi (2590981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287251)

Response in subject

Re:HTML5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287661)

I'd much rather use a flash player than encode a video to two different formats and switch between them based on the browser. It was hard to do, but HTML 5 managed to take a step backwards on the video compatibility front.

Re:flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288095)

How about linux 64bit distortion field? Sure there is a flash plugin but it's unstable so I don't install it. Most of YouTube and Vimeo are HTML5 so it's not really an issue except with less tech savvy sites.

Re:flash (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289599)

...Flash is the web standard for video players.

Oh, thank heaven -- at least there's a good reason!

Woah! (3, Interesting)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287125)

Slashdot has its own video player?

Re:Woah! (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287585)

No, they're 'rethinking video with Ooyala'.

Which is to say that they're using a video player even worse than JWPlayer in terms of performance and stability (seeking leads to the infinite spinning disc, the video catching up to the buffering leads to a complete halt, and the video plays back with drops and hangs (literally, I couldn't interact with the thing for 20 seconds just now).

They don't have much choice if they choose Ooyala as the distribution platform of choice for some reason, but then I have to question the distribution platform of choice.

Audacity, here I come again.

Also, this cowboy needs to slow down because it has been only 4 minutes since I last posted a reply.

Re:Woah! (1)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288195)

No, they're 'rethinking video with Ooyala'.

Which is to say that they're using a video player even worse than JWPlayer in terms of performance and stability (seeking leads to the infinite spinning disc, the video catching up to the buffering leads to a complete halt, and the video plays back with drops and hangs (literally, I couldn't interact with the thing for 20 seconds just now).

You think that's bad; I can't even get to the video. The advertisement plays perfectly, though. I should know, I refreshed three times trying to get past the infinite spinning disc when it's trying to load the video.

Re:Woah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289753)

No wonder it doesn't work.

Re:Woah! (2)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290515)

It takes a while for Flash to crash on Chrome but on Firefox it's a different matter, it crashes right away. What's wrong with putting the video on Youtube or even the (crappier) Vimeo player?

130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1, Offtopic)

Barryke (772876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287141)

I have never understood using feet for measuring vertical distances.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (3, Insightful)

trongey (21550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287203)

Are vertical distances somehow different from horizontal distances, or distances in any other orientation?

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287601)

I don't know about your feet, but mine are usually horizontal.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290789)

I don't know about your feet, but mine are usually horizontal.

Sorry to hear that. Maybe a different cologne or something would help.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

deroby (568773) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287943)

well, kind of.
(In theory) I could put one foot right in front of the other and repeat that 130k times, thus walking down the road and getting an approximation of 130k feet. Doing that UPWARDS is just impossible.

That said, SI rules !

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287211)

I have never understood using feet for measuring vertical distances.

Actually it's 39 624 meters

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287261)

maybe it comes from the dark age, probably they were pilling up some corpses and found that counting the feet sticking out of the pile was a great way to measure its height... else i cannot think of a good reason to have a foot vertically oriented.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289531)

maybe it comes from the dark age, probably they were pilling up some corpses and found that counting the feet sticking out of the pile was a great way to measure its height... else i cannot think of a good reason to have a foot vertically oriented.

Hot kinky Sex is the first one I thought of.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287753)

130000 feet is 40 km, not 10km !

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289745)

You are right. Also i should correct myself in that the /. title says 120000 which is 36576m. (and not 130000 feet)
Sorry.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289673)

Actually, MacGyver2210 kinda answered a similar topic elsewhere on this web page:

Sorry, unless you're within Apple's reality distortion field, Flash is the web standard for video players.

So, you see, it's standard and that alone makes it right.

Re:130000 feet ~= 10km (metric) (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290779)

I have never understood using feet for measuring vertical distances.

Hey baby, my house has 0.003048km high ceilings.

Endoscopy.. (5, Funny)

Walterk (124748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287149)

He works for a company making flexible endoscopy devices. Yet he's building a rocket. Should we be worried?

Re:Endoscopy.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287609)

He works for a company making flexible endoscopy devices. Yet he's building a rocket. Should we be worried?

Need my solution to hostile endoscopes? One word.. beans, the one thing proctologists fear the most.

Two questions about rocket design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287189)

1) How does the rocket know where is up? Is the direction set during first seconds of launch or it's adjusted by gravity?
2) Launch video shows how little spin the rocket has. Is there something actively stopping it from spinning during flight, fins are tuned in the wind-tunnel or something else?

Re:Two questions about rocket design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287343)

3) what would happen if he airlifted a platform by weather balloon several miles, and then launched? can a "hobbyist" achieve orbit?

Re:Two questions about rocket design (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289735)

what would happen if he airlifted a platform by weather balloon several miles, and then launched?

Well, he'd get more height especially with a vacuum-optimized rocket nozzle.

can a "hobbyist" achieve orbit?

No, the sixteenth law of motion passed in 1963 says that you have go pro once your rocket gets too impressive. Before that change in the laws of physics, you could though.

Re:Two questions about rocket design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287597)

Have you seen a dart? Do you think darts are tested in wind tunnels?

A flying rocket cannot sense any gravity. It's either accelerated by its own motor (which drowns any gravity-induced acceleration), or in a free fall. A really advanced rocket could use a gyroscope to sense direction, but most of them are basically powered darts.

Re:Two questions about rocket design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288125)

i have seen a dart, and a dart can/will spin when thrown.

answers Re:Two questions about rocket design (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288025)

1) Yes, this is basically a purely ballistic device with passive stability. Start putting any sort of guidance or active control on it and you're changing a "high power amateur rocket" into a "guided missile" which will attract a LOT of attention from the authorities.

2) Fin design is fairly well understood in a textbook and practical sense. People have been building things with fins for millenia, and the science of aerodynamic stability is well known. It *is* tricky in some ways because the CG of the rocket is continuously changing as the fuel burns, not to mention that for a BIG rocket like this, the atmospheric density changes a lot. The hard part is keeping the fins intact under the loads.

3) a Rockoon? Been done, not entirely clear that it helps a whole lot. You buy a lot of mass and complexity to avoid the first 30km of flight, but to get into orbit takes a whole lot more energy. But there are folks experimenting with it. It's a lot cheaper to just buy more fuel and build a bigger rocket than to deal with building and flying balloons (High Altitude Ballooning has it's own share of complexities both in an Engineering and regulatory standpoint).

Re:Two questions about rocket design (4, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288817)

High power rockets like this are fin stabilized. The initial guidance is provided by the launch rod or rail, which keeps the rocket going straight up until it gains enough velocity that the fins provide sufficient aerodynamic correcting force. Exactly the same as the little Estes model rockets, just bigger.

The lack of spin is an indication that he got all the fins well aligned with the thrust axis of the rocket. Not surprising since he laid out the attachments using proper tools in a well-equipped machine shop.

Re:Two questions about rocket design (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39290053)

It's designed so that the center of aerodynamic forces is aft of the center of mass, which keep the rocket motor end of the rocket behind the nose end. the Greater the distance aft the center of aerodynamics is to the center of mass, the more inherent stability the vehicle will have. You'll notice that the launcher has rails to keep the rocket straight until it has enough velocity for the aerodynamics forces to stabilize the vehicle. The missile I worked on had a zero-length launcher, that bird left fast!

Am I the only person (1)

CaptainHayashi (2590981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287209)

that thinks his name sounds oddly similar to "daredevil"?

Maybe he should strap himself to one of his rockets for charity or something.

qw8k? (1)

ischorr (657205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287347)

How are you supposed to pronounce this? queightk? qwa-eight-kuh? Are you supposed to forget there's a "t" in 8?

Re:qw8k? (1)

ischorr (657205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287491)

I guess it's sort of like Megadeth's latest album, TH1RT3EN. I imagine that's pronounced th-one-rt-three-en.

Or the movie Se-seven-en.

Re:qw8k? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287505)

yes, you're supposed to forget that there's a "t" in 8.

The video does mention how this is pronounced.. specifically.. at 3 seconds in:

Derek Deville and the Qu8ke (pronounced "Quake") Rocket

Re:qw8k? (4, Funny)

Roblimo (357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287769)

"Quake." Seems a bit silly, but I am not going to argue with someone who makes rockets with more range than an early Scud.

Ballistic missile defense (0)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287373)

The US govt's seemingly quixotic investment of hundreds of billions [cdi.org] in missile defense seems more justified in light of this. When "some guy" can do it, it can't be long until almost any nation can.

Longer term I have the same concern about nuclear weapons. What if somebody found a simple, cheap way to make highly enriched uranium? It would be a disaster.

Re:Ballistic missile defense (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287507)

The US govt's seemingly quixotic investment of hundreds of billions [cdi.org] in missile defense seems more justified in light of this. When "some guy" can do it, it can't be long until almost any nation can.

Longer term I have the same concern about nuclear weapons. What if somebody found a simple, cheap way to make highly enriched uranium? It would be a disaster.

You don't need highly enriched uranium, just enough smoke detectors.

Re:Ballistic missile defense (1)

Bomazi (1875554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287743)

You'll need more than 200 billion detectors though. Good luck with that.

Re:Ballistic missile defense (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288077)

Actually, about 200 of them plus some lithium batteries and mantles from coleman lanterns. The americium-241 in the smoke detectors is used to convert the thorium-232 to make uranium-233 with the lithium used as a catalyst. The uranium-233 is fissionable or can be used to make a dirty device. There are a couple of other requirements that I have left out, but are commonly available from big box stores as my intention is not to have anyone actually do this. The point being, though, is that it isn't too hard.

Re:Ballistic missile defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287783)

If you must fear nuclear disaster, fear hydrogen bombs primed by other means than nuclear fission. I hear lasers can be used for this.

1st time was enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287523)

We don't need an article every time this kid decides to launch one of his toys.

Even more interesting... (0)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287573)

Is the lower female torso he has in his junk pile. Me thinks he's been working on his pocket rocket too...
 

fuc4 a bitch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39287727)

good maaners that has grown 0p that *BSD 0wned.

Slashdot - is it really so fscking hard... (3, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39287787)

... to have videos that work through company firewalls - ie use port 80? youtube can manage it along with dozens of other sites. Why can't you??

Re:Slashdot - is it really so fscking hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288003)

It isn't slashdot's fault that your company has incompetent network administrators. Blame them if your 'internet access' is HTTP only.

Re:Slashdot - is it really so fscking hard... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288229)

There's nothing incompetent about it junior, its the way most large companies do things these days. When you leave school and get a job you'll find that out.

Re:Slashdot - is it really so fscking hard... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289363)

Life at my company is good.
Peons get Google maps and the company site.
Managers get what I give them.
I get everything.

Transcript - although you really should watch this (3, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288213)

Title: Derek's "Amateur" Rockets Fly to 120,000+ Feet
Description: Derek Deville builds amazing rockets. For fun.

[00:00] <TITLE>
The Slashdot logo with "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." scrolls and zooms along the left side of the view, superimposed over a 'small' rocket's take-off event.

[00:03] <TITLE>
Derek Deville and the Qu8ke (pronounced "Quake") Rocket

[00:03] Timothy>
Derek Deville is a serious amateur rocket maker.
Today, Derek was kind enough to allow me both into his home workshop, and here in the former Chess Hall of Fame, his current workplace, where many of the parts for Qu8ke were actually fabricated.

[00:16] <TITLE>
A picture of a workshop with a large cylindrical casing on struts with a man, Derek Deville, is in view.

[00:16] Derek>
This is a filament-wound composite casing, aluminum-wrapped with a phenolic carbon fibre-wrapped nozzle.
This is a 5,000lbs thrust hybrid motor.
We fired this one already.
These have enough fuel to burn for 34 seconds.
We've tested full duration burns.

[00:33] <TITLE>
A rocket motor test, with large high velocity exhaust plume, is shown.

[00:54] <TITLE>.
Back to the workshop, the view pans to a large cylindrical metallic object standing upright and a set of other cylindrical casings stacked up beside it.

[00:54] Derek>
This is the aluminum test version of that.
I wouldn't even dare to lean this all the way over; it's too heavy, it's still got propellant in it.
It's another 12 inch.
There's another 12 inch casing over there, and a bunch of 6 inch stuff.
The 12 inch ones are what we call the Hyperion Two, and the 6 inch is the Hyperion One.

[01:14] <TITLE>
The video pans upward along a set of racks, revealing a rocket with stabilization fins laying across the top struts of the racks.

[01:14] Derek>
You can see up there is a 16 inch full-scale nike smoke.
It doesn't have a nosecone on it, it's got a different nosecone on it, temporarily.

[01:23] <TITLE>
The view changes to a zoomed in view of the rocket being discussed.

[01:24] Derek>
But that is one I made a P-motor for and flew at an LDRS [...]

[01:28] <TITLE>
The view changes back to the view of the racks, and follows Derek around the workshop.

[01:28] Derek>
[...] some years ago.
If you swing around over here besides the funky mannequins ...
Oh, here's a piece of finstock.
This is the finstock that was used for Hyperion.

[01:39] <TITLE>
Derek is shown holding the piece of finstock.

[01:39] Derek>
This is an extrusion that we had made, so it had that profile matched to 6 inch diameter casing and then had the fin... so that when we trim this to be fin profile, and fin profile with leading and trailing edges, and drill it out.. and then this would be secured directly onto the motor casing.

[02:01] Derek>
So this is a compression-molded phenolic nozzle that forms the convergence, the throat, and the divergence.
These are glued into a XX grade [ia] phenolic liner with another compression-molded phenolic forward closure.
The injector would seal right in here and then eject, you can see the tapered cone, the way that the nitrous impinged the fuel grains.
This is a fully-consumed fuel grain.
This is about a Q motor.

[02:40] Derek>
And then 12 inch versions here.
Similar to what was done with Qu8ke, we had kevlar molded nose cones made for Hyperions back in the day.
That fits the 6 inch motor casing.

[02:55] <TITLE>
The same rocket launch from the opening title is shown.

[03:00] <TITLE>
Video following Derek around the machine shop is shown.

[03:00] Derek>
This is the Syntheon machine shop.
This is where all the Qu8ke machining parts were made.
We've got a standard lathe and a precision, smaller, lathe.
Nose cone parts were fabricated here.
Standard manual lathe.
Did some tricks - our machinists had to kind of push the limits of what could be done because of the size constraints, the pieces we were making were kind of at the limits for this machine.

[03:28] Derek>
Over here we have a regular mill and a prototrack mill.
The drilling for the casing and the end closures and stuff was all done here.
We set up a vertical rotary table here, extended the motor casing out this way, and then we were able to drill and tap using this.
The prototrack was used to mill out the fin profiles and shapes.
There it is, this is where it happens.

[03:59] <TITLE>
"Rocket's eye view of a flight to 120,000+ feet."
The view appears from ground level and quickly shoots up through multiple cloud layers

[05:50] <TITLE>
The rocket has almost entirely run out of fuel and the view begins to wobble as the rocket begins to fall down (not shown).
( Note: transcripts to not do the noise justice. My ears, they do nothing. )

[05:15] <TITLE>
Back at the machine shop, the view is that of the lathe as they discuss it further.

[05:15] Derek>
One of the neat things with this lathe is back here there is a section that is set up for shallow angles.
By canting this over and freeing the normal Y-axis of the lathe, you can have the lathe head drift at a shallow angle as it is motorized on the X-axis.
That is how we did nose cone tapers with that, which is normally impossible.
Normally you have a very small stage, so you can only track across a short length.
With this we can track across 15 inches and do like that yellow forward end piece and stuff like that.

[05:59]
A short shot of another rocket launch, somewhat slowed down, is shown.

[06:03] <TITLE>
The view is back at the work shop with the cylindrical casings.

[06:03] Derek>
Qu8ake, I think, was at or beyond the limit of what you can do as an individual.
Even calling it an individual project is kind of a stretch as obviously I had machinists working for me, I had outside sources, I had friends come over to help cast the propellant and help transport... everything else was, you know there's a lot of logistics involved.
People helped me out set up the pad, somebody else helped build the pad.
As much as I was the driving force behind it and the key and the designer and all that, it still was sort of a group project.
To move beyond Qu8ke, it becomes a really group project, and funding is gonna have to be substantial.
But, we're planning, thinking about something, maybe a 12 inch, maybe something to go to space.
We'll see.

[06:50] <TITLE>
Another rocket launch is shown with the Slashdot logo with "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." zooming in from the bottom left.

[06:53]
Woops and cheers sound as the rocket takes off.

Heads Up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39288273)

Noob question. This rocket was pretty big... how do rocketeers like Derek ensure that when their rocket returns to earth, it doesn't cause some form of death and destruction? How accurately can you calculate how far the rocket will drift away from the launch site on the way up, then back down?

Re:Heads Up? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289215)

"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun

Apologies to Tom Lehrer.

Re:Heads Up? (2)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39289453)

Flights like this are only allowed in areas where you have many miles of clear space for recovery.

How far the rocket drifts depends primarily on winds, which vary in speed/direction at different altitudes. There are various simulation packages (like RockSim or OpenRocket) that allow you to run flight simulations and generate landing predictions based on prevailing wind conditions, parachute size, etc.

The most important technique for reducing the recovery distance is multi-stage recovery, where the large main parachute isn't deployed until a very low altitude, specifically to reduce the distance the rocket will be carried by wind. A typical system might simply break the rocket into 2 tethered pieces at apogee (causing it to tumble or flat spin down rather than becoming a ballistic lawn dart), then pop out the main chute at 1500 feet or so. Control of the recovery system deployment is typically done with a combination of barometric pressure sensors and accelerometers, usually contained within a commercially available altimeter module, which records peak altitude and other flight data. The one I use on most of my larger rockets is here:

http://www.marsa4.com/ [marsa4.com]

, but there are several manufacturers of similar devices serving this market.

Ass! (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39288763)

At 2:37.

No lie.

Quake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39289019)

Wouldn't it be Qua-ate-k??

Simple Green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39290613)

After seeing the world from 120k Ft, I was most impressed by the simple green product placement in this video.

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