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X-Wing Rocket Launches, Disintegrates

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-surprise-here dept.

Star Wars Prequels 240

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the 21-foot X-Wing with four rocket engines? It launched yesterday from Plaster City and here's the video showing what many thought inevitable: total destruction in mid-air. From the post: "I can only say two things. The first is: absolutely amazing. And the second: poor Porkins." "

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I had friends (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888417)

I had friends on that X-Wing.

Build a smaller one that works (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888421)

That kid really enjoying the destruction is pretty funny.

For those who'd like to do something similar but on a much smaller scale, Estes [estesrockets.com] has done a number of smaller model rockets based on the Star Wars movies. A couple decent models are R2-D2 [amazon.com] and my favorite, Vader's TIE fighter [amazon.com] . But I would guess the most appropriate to this discussion would be the X Wing [ebay.com]

Re:Build a smaller one that works (5, Interesting)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888645)

If you want to see something in a similar vein to this launch that is really impressive, check out Top Gear's launch of a shuttle built from a Reliant Robin compact car: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TN3JjUUdjWU [youtube.com]

Top Gear Reliant Robin Rocket (1)

skiddie (773482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889549)

Brilliant vid. Thanks. It was kind of poignant to see Richard Hammond while the other presenter (the one I don't like) was saying "All of our big projects end in failure" or something to that effect.

Re:Build a smaller one that works (2, Informative)

retiredtwice (1128097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889495)

The video doesnt seem to be on the site anymore, but it is on youtube. Search "X wing" and sort by date or http://youtube.com/watch?v=ogYrvEEM0Ts [youtube.com]

a few moments before the launch (5, Funny)

ClippySay (930525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888437)

/ You look like you're trying to pilot an \
\ X-Wing. May I help you?                 /
       \     ____
        \   / __ \
         \  O|  |O|
            ||  | |
            ||  | |
            ||    |
             |___/

Yoda says.... (5, Funny)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888451)

....Surprised, I am not.

Re:Yoda says.... (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888593)

I don't think any of them actually expected it to get very far before it died. They were launching it straight up, unguided... That means it either disintegrates, or comes back down on top of them... I'd have been praying for the disintegration, personally.

Still, it 'flew' far enough that it was fun to watch. At least it didn't die 2 feet off the ground, like it could have.

Re:Yoda says.... (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888871)

I don't think any of them actually expected it to get very far before it died. They were launching it straight up, unguided... That means it either disintegrates, or comes back down on top of them... I'd have been praying for the disintegration, personally.
Then again, they were optimistic enough to install a parachute recovery system...

Re:Yoda says.... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889373)

Then again, they were optimistic enough to install a parachute recovery system...

They definitely expected it to survive...come on people, we get enough PR spin from companies about their disasters, do we really need to do it here?

Re:Yoda says.... (2, Informative)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888931)

I think they said on their web page it had some sort of control surfaces(es) or something and that according to it's computer models it would fly. That was the my whole issue with it. Them saying a flying model of an X-wing and when you read a little deeper it "flew" in computer simulations. Modeling and simulation is my profession, and I'll be the first to say just because it does well in simulation might not mean anything esp if you models and simulations are messed up.

Re:Yoda says.... (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889005)

Modeling and simulation is my profession, and I'll be the first to say just because it does well in simulation might not mean anything esp if you models and simulations are messed up.
Indeed, I think the error in their simulation model is glaring and obvious. Doubtless they merely modeled aerodynamic stability and the sim assumed the structure would be perfectly rigid. One look at the construction pics, though, and it's clear that 4 rockets with enough thrust to lift the vehicle were going to twist those flimsy wings right off the body. These guys are model nerds. You'd think that one of them might have enough "intuitive engineering" in 'em to see the error of their approach, but perhaps that's not as common as I've come to expect, coming as I do from a family full of engineers...

Yeeeeeeeeaaaahhhhhh! (1, Funny)

onosson (1107107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888467)

I, for one, welcome our X-wing-rocket-flying... oh, never mind.

A shame, but it happens. (5, Insightful)

nincehelser (935936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888469)

But shreds are not uncommon in high power rocketry.

I'm sure they'll learn from the failure and build another one until they get it right.

That's pretty much the whole point of the hobby. If you don't have the occasional spectacular failure, you're probably not innovating enough.

Re:A shame, but it happens. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888523)

If you don't have the occasional spectacular failure, you're probably not innovating enough.

Or motivated enough. I'm sure the Emperor could find new ways to motivate them though.

To shreds, you say? (2, Funny)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889533)

Well, how's his wife holding out?

She'll hold together (4, Funny)

kalpol (714519) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888483)

Come on baby....aw hell.

Re:She'll hold together (1)

jwisser (1038696) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888647)

I can hold it! I can hold it!

Re:She'll hold together (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889487)

Now if only they didn't fly with their inertial dampers on full, then they would have known to pull up more.

Damnit, I think I need to kick the crap out of myself for that one.

A waste (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888485)

Does anyone here think that if you're going to take the time to build a model x-wing and invest in four rocket engines that you'd at least try to make sure it survives its maiden voyage?

x-wing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888493)

w00t! im in ur death star, pwning ur x-wing!

I'm not surprised (5, Funny)

VegeBrain (135543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888497)

I've often been amazed how bad the aerodynamics of Science Fiction are. The X wing is a pretty good example, with those huge laser weapons on the ends of the wings that guarantee flutter problems in the wings. I also find it hilarious that the leading edges of the wings are flat. Then there's the silliness of having 4 engines instead of two. The whole problem is instead of being practical, science fiction spacecraft are just there to look cool. If the rebels can't figure out a few obvious improvements like these then they deserve to be crushed like a bug by the Emperor.

Re:I'm not surprised (5, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888519)

I've often been amazed how bad the aerodynamics of Science Fiction are. The X wing is a pretty good example, with those huge laser weapons on the ends of the wings that guarantee flutter problems in the wings. I also find it hilarious that the leading edges of the wings are flat.
I would have thought that, for obvious reasons, aerodynamics are not a big issue when designing a spacecraft...

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888547)

Well the X-wing could land in atmosphere, so you'd think it would need aerodynamic considerations for that. But so can the Millenium Falcon so maybe it isn't necessary.

Spacecraft becomes Aircraft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888551)

How often do these large ships often re-enter many different atmospheres with little to no problem?

Hell, they even landed a city (Atlantis) from a non-orbit.

Whatever. I suppose with enough shields and inertia dampeners you can do almost anything.

Re:Spacecraft becomes Aircraft. (2, Interesting)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888667)

No Shields Needed, with enough inertial dampeners and repulser-lifts you can do anything. Remember, in an atmosphere the X-Wing functioned less like a plane and more like a helicopter with big engines on the back thanks to it's repulser-lifts, the thing could VTOL.

As for Atlantis, it's also pretty much a helicopter.

90% of spacecraft in fiction than enter atmospheres work like helicopters once there, not planes.

Re:Spacecraft becomes Aircraft. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888959)

And 90% of the remainder spacecraft work like meteors, not aircraft.

The first one that comes to minde for me is that scene at the end of "Galaxy Quest" where the kid has roman candles to guide the vessel down. Maybe that's first to mind because Sigourney Weaver stepped out of it with a near complete 'wardrobe malfunction'. ;^)

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

djw (3187) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889313)

I would have thought that, for obvious reasons, aerodynamics are not a big issue when designing a spacecraft...
On the contrary. Any random interstellar particle you do hit is going to have a momentum proportional to the product of your relative velocity (probably huge) and the cosine of the angle of incidence. Hit a dust speck straight on at, say, 1/3 C and you'll probably tear your hull apart. So by having an aerodynamic profile you minimize that cosine.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

wjhoffman1983 (1145155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888539)

Considering the X-Wing is a space faring vehicle, I'm not so sure aerodynamics is overly important. Besides, the story takes place long long ago, before they had wind tunnels and the like.

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889017)

Considering the X-Wing is a space faring vehicle, I'm not so sure aerodynamics is overly important.
Dude, that's just the problem. Even right there in the very first movie you have X-Wings taking off from the Rebel base to fight the Death Star, and that Rebel base is on a moon with Earth-like gravity and an atmosphere that humans can breathe. If they can't fly in atmosphere, how the hell do they get from surface to space?

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888543)

of course usually spaceships dont really need to worry about aerodynamics and could be shaped like Doughboy ala Austin Powers, but X-Wings where used in Atmosphere so ill allow that one

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888579)

Why would a space ship care about aerodynamics?

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

ahaning (108463) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888815)

Why would a space ship care about aerodynamics?

I thought the same thing, but consider how important aerodynamics are to the Space Shuttle.

Any ship that will need to descend to a place filled with air to drop off its passengers will need to be fairly aerodynamic. Or what about close-to-the-ground fighting on a planet with some atmosphere.

If it's going to look aerodynamic, it'd better be aerodynamic.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889285)

I thought the same thing, but consider how important aerodynamics are to the Space Shuttle.
The space shuttle is all about the transition from ground to orbit. That's the entirety of its capability, and it does so only by the slimmest of margins (in the "spacecraft" sense). X-Wing fighters and the like are hyperspace capable deep-space fleet defense craft. Trans-atmospheric flight is a minor trifle encountered at the beginning and end of the mission, and only when based on a planet.

Any ship that will need to descend to a place filled with air to drop off its passengers will need to be fairly aerodynamic.
Unless it has the advantage of things like energy shields, repulsor lifts, and inertial dampeners. If the needs of friction reduction, G-force reduction, and aerodynamic lift are taken care of by "black boxes" inside the vehicle, you can make it any shape you like.

Or what about close-to-the-ground fighting on a planet with some atmosphere.
As you may recall from EP5 aka SW:ESB, ground support/close air support was done with small, aerodynamic flying machines called "snow speeders". This is because X-Wing fighters et al are strictly spacecraft with trans-atmospheric capability.

If it's going to look aerodynamic, it'd better be aerodynamic.
Errr.... why? The "aerodynamic look" is as valid a form of artistic design as any other. Look at some of the consumer goods from the 1950's and 60's. Lots of smooth lines, all very "space age" looking, but I seriously doubt those sleek brushed aluminum toasters would far well in a wind tunnel.

Yes, it's terrible when fiction is fictional. (4, Insightful)

Glytch (4881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888609)

The overall design of the x-wing serves one purpose: to look cool in a movie. Don't overanalyze. Accept it for what it is.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888791)

I've often been amazed how bad the aerodynamics of Science Fiction are. The X wing is a pretty good example, with those huge laser weapons on the ends of the wings that guarantee flutter problems in the wings.

What, you mean kinda like this [globalaircraft.org] ?

Having huge weapons hanging anywhere off the wing doesn't "guarantee" any problem with aerodynamics. (Before you argue that the other missiles and fuel pods somehow dampen the vibration, the F-16 can fly with sidewinders alone. In fact, you can mount a heavier AIM-120 AMRAAM to the wing edge mounts if you want, like this [wikipedia.org] ).

The only real problem I can see with the X-Wing's laser weapons from an aerodynamic standpoint is the reflectors on the tip - and it wouldn't really be a big deal to just stow those somehow when flying through an atmosphere (though I don't remember if that was ever modeled in any of the Star Wars movies. I doubt it).

The overall wing design is a bigger problem, though it's more the overall profile than the leading edge that's the issue. An X-Wing's wings themselves seem to be flat, and peppered with all sorts of bumps and indentations; there's nothing to generate lift, and plenty to generate drag. I guess this is compensated a bit by the fact that the thing is supposed to be powered by rocket engines, not jets - I'm not convinced it's even supposed to be able to "fly" in the traditional sense. It might just sort of push itself through the air at high speeds when flying atmospherically, with the "wings" providing some amount of support and stability in flight but not actually generating much (or any) lift.

I'm not really a Star Wars geek so I don't know how the X-Wing is really supposed to fly, but I just wanted to point out that there's nothing necessarily about either of the two issues you raised that would preclude it.

Re:I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889187)

Dude... the X-wing was from a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Have you seens stuff from just earlier this century? Hella not sleek. I'd say the rebels were doing ok...

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

ductonius (705942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889381)

Star Wars is fantasy with machines.

Darth Vader Quote... (4, Funny)

no_pets (881013) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888499)

..."The Farce is strong with this one."

Linus is right (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888503)

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Re:Linus is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889447)

The GNOME people get usability right, Linus does not.

Too bad they weren't engineers (2, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888507)

As much as I loved the idea, these people were not engineers or this would never have happened. For all the jokes about "rocket science," reliable rocket design isn't that hard. The forces from the engine are known from the manufacturer, the aerodynamic forces are relatively easy to estimate, checking stability is simple (basic childhood rocketry books tell you how), the forces inside the structure aren't that hard to work out, and the material strengths can be looked up or discovered with a few tests. The point is that engineering lets one design something that just works. Sure, if one really wants to push the envelope on performance (e.g., the highest performance engines on the lightest possible structures), then it becomes necessary to do some testing, but by the time a full-scale model is done, the chances of success should be fairly high (and the risk of failure known).

With a bit of thought, pencil, paper, and a calculator (or slide rule) these folks could have built an X-Wing that really flew well again and again. But perhaps that wasn't their goal. Sometimes the goal is just to watch stuff blow up.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888545)

Dude. I'm sure their were some engineers in there. Some pretty well healed ones at that that earned their money with their skills.

You've obviously never built a high-power rocket. You've obviously never seen the vidoes of both early and recent "professional" rocket failures.

It's called rocket science for a reason, and it's clear why you're not one of them.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888661)

Dude. I'm sure their were some engineers in there. Some pretty well healed ones at that that earned their money with their skills.


Only the ones that actually tried sitting in the cockpits. Real nerds know that you test things you are not absolutely certain will work with something/someone you don't mind breaking, e.g., jocks.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (3, Interesting)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888665)

I think it depends to a great degree on how far you're pushing the envelope.

The early rocket experiments didn't have general guildlines to go from - and so they discovered problem after problem by experiment.

They also didn't have parts with known specifications - they were building their own engines which were often sources of problems.

An amateurer rocket designer today can buy off the shelf parts - and know exactly what their tolerances are. If their engines are certified to produce x N of force +/- y% then you can simply design for that. If they have a 99.99% reliability rate you don't need to worry about them just blowing up.

To me this whole thing sounded more like an exercise in amusement than trying to actually get a rocket off the ground. Nothing wrong with that - but it is hardly big news when the thing disintegrates in mid-air...

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888563)

Common sense ... isn't

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888601)

yeah, I slapped my head on my forehead when I heard they were using giant solid aluminum rods instead of tubes. nice video, though.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888675)


With a bit of thought, pencil, paper, and a calculator (or slide rule) these folks could have built an X-Wing that really flew well again and again.


Bzzzzzt. Wrong, but thank you for playing.

Show the engine configuration to a real engineer and s/he will say: "that can't be done." Unless the engines ignite and burn PERFECTLY (which the engineer knows they won't) the thing is going to tear itself apart.

OK. Switch to liquid fuel (so that the amount thrust from each engine can be dynamically adjusted) and swiveling nozzles (so that the direction of thrust from each engine can be dynamically adjusted) and it might work, but that would cost millions, and we would have to strap a huge orange tank to the XWing's belly (and it will tale a couple of solid boosters to get THAT off the ground (and we would have issues with chunks of foam breaking off and destroying the XWing)).

A real engineer wouldn't make it work. S/he would tell you that the design is all wrong.

(Yeah, I read Heinlein too, but his engineers, like the rest of his characters, were fictional.)

imperfect engine burns are OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888933)

Yes, the multiple engines adds challenge, but it's not insurmountable.

A multiple engine rocket can fly without breaking up in the same way that an multi-engine airplane can survive an engine shutdown. The engines don't need to be perfect. Instead, the designer only needs to ensure that the center of pressure is far enough aft of the center of gravity to compensate for any expected asymmetry in thrust. Sure, if one engine is stronger than the rest or one engine fails to ignite, the rocket will fly in a long curving loop (whose radius can be estimated by the design engineer before launch), but it does not mean it will tear itself apart (unless the engineer failed to do their job).

A real engineer would make the 4-engine X-wing configuration work.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (4, Interesting)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888677)

"the aerodynamic forces are relatively easy to estimate"

On a vehicle like the X-wing...which no one's ever done aerodynamic tests on...which has reverse facing wings...and pylons sticking out from them...and is shaped like a rocket with huge wings attached.

If you can estimate those forces easily and come up with it's coefficient of drag then I would like to subscribe to your newsletter...

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (2, Interesting)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888941)

To get a good first approximation of the aerodynamic characteristics of the X-wing, all you need to do is import the design into X-Plane. It's been done with other research designs, and that's probably all it would have taken to show that it would fall apart.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (4, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888775)

As much as I loved the idea, these people were not engineers or this would never have happened.
Yeah, that much was obvious, I thought, from the pics linked from the original article. The thing was simply a scale model with rocket engines tacked on. The first thing I thought when I saw the build pics was "baltic birch and aluminum rods? It's going to fall apart." Just an eyeball reckoning of the stress vectors between the body and engine attachment points [gizmodo.com] reveals a half dozen points of guaranteed failure. I think it's funny that they even bothered to put a parachute system in it.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (1)

jasen666 (88727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888869)

What he said.
I don't think the design is "impossible", but it certainly can't be done with wood. At the least, the base frame and engine attachments should have been welded metal of some type, and the engines much larger to compensate for the weight.
It still wouldn't fly straight, but it wouldn't disintegrate 10 feet off the ground.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889409)

Gee. Many aircraft are made of wood.

Engines? These aren't engines, they're motors.

Welded metal of some type? Ever hear about those things called composites?

So what large (g+) rocket have you successfully built and flown?

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889039)

Sometimes the goal is just to watch stuff blow up.

Erm that was Plan B. Yeah, we planned it all along. Hey, isn't that Britney checking into rehab?

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889169)

Hey you've got it all figured out, man. I look forward to seeing your 1/2 scale Tie-Fighter go up next year.

Re:Too bad they weren't engineers (1)

smicker (865265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889377)

And had you spoken up earlier the pilot would be alive now.

two items from video (3, Funny)

drDugan (219551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888517)

the kids wearing blue in the forground is clearly rooting for it to crash, you see his left arm raise victorious before the crowd goes ohhhhhh, and he continues to cheer as pieces fall.

and, if you listen carefully at the very end of the video, the announcer proclaims, "shit" over the loudspeaker

hilarious.

Re:two items from video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888641)

profanity in the presence of minor is hilarious.

Re:two items from video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888881)

profanity in the presence of minor is hilarious.

Fuck yeah! It is.

Re:two items from video (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888909)

profanity in the presence of minor is hilarious.


If he had said "Jesus Christ" it would have been profane. In this case we have common place vulgarity, from the Latin vulgris, of the common people, which leads us to the humor of the situation:

What is hilarious is an adult acting in the way everybody is commonly known to act, but from which children are enjoined.

On the other hand, one might observe that the word "profane" often refers in sociological contexts to those matters which are of an ordinary, day to day nature, as opposed to the sacred which is outside the realm of ordinary experience. Therefore one may learn the profane through observation, but the sacred is primarily learned through other people.

Thus, that the stars exceed Man's grasp is a profane fact; that Man should reach them is a sacred opinion, which is the moral of today's ironic shaggy dog post.

Re:two items from video (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889455)

Christ, you need to get laid. Shit.

What an idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888527)

Did you notice the parachuter? Darwin Award winner in the making.

I had one when I was a kid (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888541)

I had a little ~18" x-wing solid fuel rocket. Flew pretty nice, too.

Re:I had one when I was a kid (1)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888737)

Me too. I still have mine. It's a bit beat up but repairable. Good ol' Estes. Not the most practical design but it looks cool. I think I still have the Star Trek Enterprise rocket too. (Pack rat? Who, me?)

That was lame. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888565)

That was lame. Even if it hadn't disintegrated early, it was on an arc that would have hit the ground in about five seconds.

Now if they'd built it as a large R/C model aircraft, it would have been cool. That's been done [rcuniverse.com] in a 24 inch wingspan model, so it's possible to fly that shape.

model rocketry (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888581)

anyone who's ever built those x-wing rocket models would know this was going to happen- it is the reason they were launched last. simply because at least one of them broke apart and nearly killed someone on the ground.

Re:model rocketry (1)

spiderbitendeath (577712) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889289)

Mine missed hitting a brand new car by 4 inches :)

Maybe I missed it... (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888595)

but I don't see any video of it flying/exploding. I saw multiple pictures of it on the ground but no video despite the /. submission and the article both saying "here is the video" and the link goes to still pics. Does anyone have the video link? Like I said, maybe I missed it and it really is there but I didn't see it.

Re:Maybe I missed it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888637)

Hi,
had the same prob.
Just activate JavaScript and you will be able to see the video.

Re:Maybe I missed it... (2, Funny)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888765)

Look harder. Fireballs can be pretty hard to spot sometimes.

It did very well. (2, Interesting)

burni (930725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888639)

Keeping in mind it was only build from mostly wood and some aluminium, I must say it's interesting that the booster rockets haven't ripped it apart through the start, so from my point
of view I consider the construction itself as usable for further designs.

I think I can also come up with a possible solution why the construction collapsed.
The thrusters aren't to be blamed for this.

It's the  X-shaped twin wing, which is the problem in here, with the increasing velocity the wind forces between the twin wings pushed them into opposite directions, resulting in an alteration of the flightvector as you can see in the video, and when it collapsed,
the wings acted like long arms which applied huge torque onto the vessels body,
and so breaking it apart.

Re:It did very well. (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889191)

I actually agree with you, and also I'm impressed that they were able to get the rockets to light off in sync. Just from watching the Mythbusters try to launch multi-rocket projectiles you can see how hard it is for amateurs to do that sort of thing. I hope they build another.

Another thought occurred to me as well--that this was an expected outcome right from the start.

Re:It did very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889305)

It's the X-shaped twin wing

Isn't this why X-Wings have their S-Foils locked into launch and flight mode as a non X shape?

If I remember correctly, don't they "lock S-Foils into attack position" when going into battle? I always figured the reason for splitting the wings was to keep the laser cannons from fusing together by the heat they generated. If they attempted to put four laser cannons on the thing, the only way to do it would be with some separation of the cannons.

Why don't they try again with a Z-95 Headhunter? It is the same design as a non-attack position X-Wing except it only has two lasers.

Well... (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888669)

Wedge wasn't doing any good down there anyway.

Please... (2, Funny)

mecenday (1080691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888689)

I implore you... please don't put these people in charge of Gundam.

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889307)

forced meme is foooooooorced

Ha-ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888701)

Ha-ha! [gotwavs.com]

Brings back memories. (4, Interesting)

VTMarik (880085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888705)

How long will it be until someone edits in some TIEs and shoots down the X-wing rather than it just disintegrating?

Plaster City? (1)

tumutbound (549414) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888745)

What I find amazing is that there's really a place called Plaster City.

it seems most people are missing the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20888747)

If you've spent any time at all in this hobby each launch is a gamble - from the rocket exploding, to the parachute not deploying, to just plain loosing sight of the rocket and not finding it on it's return.

That was *very* cool and I'm sure the creators knew a catastrophic failure was a possible outcome.

Those Alliance budget cuts. (1)

Yonsen (866784) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888763)

Looking at the construction photos...
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/star-wars/rocketpowered-21foot-long-xwing-model-actually-flies-updated-new-pics-show-it-even-has-builtin-r2d2-305976.php [gizmodo.com] ... the engines were not really mounted with much reinforcement. That could be a big part in the blunder :/

R.I.P. Porkins

Wanted: New R2 unit (3, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888783)

Preferably one that can lock down stabilizer units when asked to.

Send inquiries to L. Skywalker, Endor National Hospital.

The chute worked... (2, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888847)

come on guys, focus on the positive... the chute worked, pity there was nothing left to save...

Not bad... (1)

sdhoigt (1095451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888949)

It actually flew rather gracefully for a good... er... second.

Incomplete! (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20888985)

The video was incomplete. Obviously they cut the frames where the X-Wing was hit by a Tie Fighter's laser beams!

Lucas used force to crush it (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889045)

I can find no other explanation for the disintegration of the X-Wing other than the following. Lucas sensed a disturbance in "The Force". This disturbance is caused by Trademark infringement. When he sensed the disturbance, he crushed the Rebel alliance that dared to go against "The Force". .... suddenly I feel something strange grasping my neck..... Session Terminated.......

Huh... (0)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889105)

Am I the only one who is unable to view the video? I know that it is not blocked... have they removed it?

Re:Huh... (2, Informative)

kayditty (641006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889227)

No, you're not the only one (someone else in this story's comments had the same problem), but you're in a minority. Try the raw FLV: http://cache.gawker.com/assets/video/xwing_launch_gawker.flv [gawker.com]

Re:Huh... (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889543)

Ah! Thanks a lot.

Can't... resist... (1)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889129)

"Stay on target. Stay on target."

Obligatory misquote (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889137)

"This is not the rocket design you were looking for. Move along, nothing to see here."

If this is indicative of engineering standards (1)

trickyrickb (910871) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889185)

across the Empire, im not suprised the Death Star blew up, twice!

Silly question (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889265)

Fun to laugh and all, but it I'm wondering if the pilot is alright. Seems his chute didn't open up all the way, he break anything?

Re:Silly question (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889623)

If you read the original article on it, what was launched was a roughly half-sized model. It had enough cockpit space for a small kid, that's about it.

It was launched unmanned.

Gratuitous... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889271)

They came from... Behind! *BOOM*

I know what they did wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20889425)

They used too much force!

*ducks and runs*

Lucky ... (2, Insightful)

Assassin bug (835070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889459)

for the crowd that the oversized trash can went up!

Voices Crying Out (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889537)

I wasn't there to see it but somehow I sensed (via video) a great disturbance as if many voices suddenly cried out.

Oh shit... (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20889657)

Yeah, that's probably what Porkins REALLY said...before Lucas edited the dialog to make it more kid-friendly.
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