August 2006


Nasa has chosen Lockheed Martin to build the Orion Crew Vehicle to return the US to the moon. The Orion vehicle will be able to carry 4 crew members to the moon and will later be adapted for Mars missions.

Read the press release here.

Nasa Constellation Project site

Lockheed Martin site

…and if you have good broadband watch this video “To the Moon and Beyond”(quicktime video)

This is an amazing HPR upscale. Mike Stoop and Andy Woerner created a 10x upscale of the Mars Lander back in 2003. The rocket was flown at Plaster Blaster 2003 on an M1939 and 4 outboard J330s. Here is the video(WMV). You can obtain the DVD for Plaster Blaster II here.

Mike Stoop has just recently launched Mad Cow Rocketry. The store launches on Sept. 1st and will carry a nice line of 29mm rockets. Among the rockets he’ll carry are 2 versions of the Honest John (31 and 50) and the V2 like Momba.

On a more modest scale you can build your own Mars Lander by obtaining a kit from Semroc. This is a fun build and seems to be a favorite throughout rocketry circles.


Quest has updated their website. Looks like they are in the process of having several items online including their catalog. There are still coding problems. Links are dead and some links open in frames that are way to small for the content. I tested in IE and Firefox but still had problems.I hope they clear up these items soon. I think the most interesting item on the site is the “TOP SECRET” 18mm D motors.

Want to go into space? If you had lots of money how much would you spend? Would you go suborbital, orbital, or around the moon?

Take the survey

Space: The Next Incredible Adventure
A Survey of Adventurers

roc motor
Just noticed that new updates are showing up at Ye Olde Rocket Plans.

Some of the plan updates include the Estes Silver Comet , the Centuri Defender Space Probe, and several Holverson Design Rockets.

I think that the ZOOMIE looks like fun!

I often wish that there was a second Space Race that would accelerate NASA’s agenda. While surfing the web yesterday I came across these two stories about Russian plans that remind me of the Space Race.

According to RussianSpaceWeb the Russian’s are contemplating a joint venture with the ESA to the moon.
“Facing exclusion from the participation in NASA’s lunar exploration program, Russia and Europe ponder a cooperative program, which would compete with the US effort to return a man to the Moon.” It goes on to say:”The latest Russian-European plans aim to parallel or even beat American astronauts on the Moon.”
Link HERE–(under manned spaceflight)

…or how about this story on how Russian and China are planning a joint venture to Mars. China and Russia plan to launch a joint mission to Mars in 2009…

Flight of Fancy?

Back in 1969 it was Project Apollo that placed men on the moon. The next time the US launches for the moon it will be Project Orion. This story was leaked last month and appeared on Now we have the official logo. Project Orion will use the ARES rockets and are all a part of the Constellation Program.

More info here 

Just received my copy of the premier issue of LAUNCH magazine. Launch magazine is a new magazine devoted to LPR. Excellent layout, fabulous photos and really great content. This issue has a special section on the history of model rocketry. Great stories on Estes, Centuri and really excellent article on Orville Carlisle and Harry Stine. Great pictures of vintage rockets. I’m looking forward to each and every upcoming issue.

Kids across the US are preparing to return to the hallowed halls of Education. All the advertisement flyers in the paper are full of “Back-to- School” specials. Our friends over at Nasa’s JPL have jumped on the bandwagon. This link is for both Educators and Students. JPL is put together are great series of resources that include everything from “Homework Help” to an excellent Educator Resource center.

click here for the JPL Back-to-School site

OK. Got 25 minutes to spare and a broadband connection? You’ve got to watch this video. It’s by the guys who set the world altitude record for water rockets. Amazing amount of research and developement plus a good deal of trial and error. These things can be dangerous with pressures of 1300 psi. The key ingredient in the end is carbon fiber.

So sit back and enjoy.

Here is another installment in the “Who the heck is..” series.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935)was the son of a Russian forester. A illness during his childhood left him deaf. Deafness led him to be self educated and he studied and focused on mathematics, physics, and astronomy. Later he became an educator.

He began to think about space travel and theorized on the following:

  • he calculated the speed and fuel it would take to escape the earth’s gravity
  • he said that the greatest exhaust velocities would be reached with liquid propellants
  • he proposed theories on multistaging
  • he theorized about space stations and interplanetray flight

“The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one can not live in a cradle forever!” – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Here are a few links to learn more about this great rocket visionary:

1 2 3

The latest Make magazine just hit the stands and in it is a wonderfully illustrated step by step guide to building a videocam rocket using a hacked CVS disposable camera. The cost of the cam is only $30. There is detailed explanations on how to hack the camera to be used again and again. This info has been around for awhile but the article has wonderfully illustrated steps.

link to info

camera hack info 

see my History of Cameras in Rocketry article

ATF Publishes Final Rule on Model Rocket Motors

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published in the Federal Register today a final rule that amends the regulations to clarify that the requirements of 27 CFR Part 555 do not apply to model rocket motors consisting of ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP), black powder, or other similar low explosives, containing no more than 62.5 grams of total propellant weight, and designed as single-use motors or as reload kits capable of reloading no more than 62.5 grams of propellant into a reusable motor casing. The final rule is intended to provide rocketry hobbyists with guidance to enable them to enjoy their hobby in compliance with the safety and security requirements of the law and regulations. ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for regulating the explosives industry, enforcing the Safe Explosives Act and investigating explosives incidents. More information on ATF and its programs is at”

Just finished another scratch build. The Alien Space Probe. Estes produced this kit between 1990-1992.
Here is a picture from the catalog. The build was fun and it is quite a nice looking rocket. I hope to take it out on it’s first flight this weekend. If you would like to do this build the plans are available at JIMZ (PDF File).
Here is a picture of the parts

Centering rings and landing pods were cut from tough cardboard using the templates included in the plans. I used 3/16 dowels from the local Hardware store. Other parts are from Hobbylinc . Here is the finished rocket. A great new addition to my fleet.

The Space Foundation institute for teachers increased it’s enrollment by nearly 10% this year.

Courses are one week long and are designed to help teachers use space themes in the classroom to enable improved student performance in literacy, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other subject areas.”

see the entire article here

I’m realizing that rocketry is associated as a summer activity in many educators minds. I find this in reports from 4-H, Scout, and Summer camps. However summer is not my favorite time to launch. When is your favorite launch season? I supposed this has a great deal to your geographical region. Here in the South we contend with high humidity, scourching sun and myriads of insect pest during the summer. Of course anytime I can convince an educator to launch rockets is the optimal launch time.

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