Saturday, June 30, 2007

Minisshot Nozzle Update

The nozzle ring is nearly completed. The 24 ring to casing screw holes and the 6 shell to ring holes all still need to be tapped. I'll probably have that task completed before the weekend is over. Indexing and drilling the 24 retention screw holes was more time consuming than I was expecting. The Mid-bulkhead design has 48 screw hole locations, so that will be even more challenging in that regard. I was worried about the alignment between the shell and the ring. It looks good though, the holes line up very well. I'm also pleased that it came in right at the predicted weight of 365 grams. Just for fun I looked at McMaster-Carr to see what six titanium machine screws for the shell to ring connection would cost; over forty dollars after shipping. Too expensive! The shortest ones that they had were a bit too long anyway. I may try and stop by Luky's Surplus Aviation Hardware in Burbank next week and see if I can find some there. Their prices and selection are awesome, finding the exact one that I want will be the hard part. I don't think that it's absolutely necessary, but those six screws will be exposed to significantly more heat than the ring to casing screws.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Farside Launch

Here is another Universal newsreel video. This one is of a rocket launched as part of Project Farside conducted by the US Air Force in the late 50s. The first stage consisted of four Thiokol Recruit rockets, the second stage used a single Recruit, the third stage used four Grand Central Arrow II motors, and the fourth stage was a single Arrow II. The rocket was carried aloft by a large balloon and fired from an altitude of 19 miles. The system had a potential altitude was 4000 miles (6400 km). I didn't find much info about the rocket online, and what I did (including the photo above) came from here. The video features the balloon launch from the ground and shows the rocket firing through the balloon. The audio quality is a little poor and the the background music seems like a very odd choice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Terrapin Rocket Launch

I recently came across a great Universal Newsreel from 1956, showing the launch of a Terrapin sounding rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia. The site where I found it on is . There are a number of other interesting Universal News Reels there featuring various rockets The newsreels often times seem to have a number of subjects on each reel, some of which are not all that interesting. The newsreels are appartently old enough to fall into public domain though so I edited out the uninteresting part of the Terrapin newsreel.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New Nozzle

I recently began working on a new nozzle for the Sugar Shot project. You can read more about the project here. This nozzle is intended to be used for the MiniSShot motor. This Motor is a very ambitious design being a two phase motor like our earlier BEM design and because, for the first time, we will be using a composite motor casing. The nozzle for this motor is designed to isolate the composite casing from the hot nozzle as much as possible and as such the nozzle has been designed to consist of five separate components. The nozzle consists of a nozzle ring, nozzle shell, graphite insert, heat resistant gasket, and a cast in place ablative on the inlet side. I recently completed the nozzle shell which is one of the more complex pieces that I have fabricated. I am pretty pleased with the result and plan to move onto the nozzle ring next.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Interesting Rocket Photos

I recently saw some cool old photos on Dick Staffords rocket Blog, but want to add one more. I came across this photo some time ago and always thought it was really cool. It looks very similar to some of the vehicles that Dick posted photos of, probably from the same place (Wallops or White Sands) and time. I'd also like to thank Dick for mentioning my site and mention that his site is great. Nothing even remotely related to rocketry seems to get by Dick.