October 2011

As the buzz increases over the cloud sourced (crowd sourced) 2012 movie release of the Nazi space epic “Iron Skies” , its time to look again at how close the Nazis came to having a space presence.

Time Magazine: How a Movie About Nazis from Space Got Made

Iron Skies –


Did the Nazis have a Space Program? (Discovery News)

Of course the V2 was the product of the rocketry program. Look here for additional V2 resources and this great paper model. Also read here about the first rocket into space (a hacked V2).

additional resources from my blog:

A Little Von Braun

Rocket Planes on the Drawing Boards of the Third Reich

Elon Musk appeared today in front of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to give an update on the Commercial Crew Development program.

In the coming years, SpaceX will collect significant data and experience on the Falcon 9 and
Dragon system from upcoming COTS and future CRS missions. Specifically, the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle are currently scheduled to fly together at least 8 more times before a crew demonstration in 2014. The Falcon 9 itself is scheduled to launch a total of 14 missions prior to the first Dragon crew mission. The commonality between the cargo and crew versions of Dragon allows for significant end-to-end flight heritage and operational experience to be gained on critical functions – including launch, navigation and control, thermal protection, thermal control, power generation and distribution, avionics, software, entry guidance and recovery – well before the first crew flight. The avionics hardware is highly scalable, allowing SpaceX to significantly leverage the architecture tested and proven on cargo missions for use on crew missions. “
-Elon Musk, SPACEX

Elon Musk – full transcript

Frank Malina, Theodore von Karman, Jack Parsons and Tsien Hsue-Shen are among the men cast the story of the beginnings of JPL. In a new documentary by Blaine Baggett called “American Rocketeer” the story is told of this group  and the beginnings of JPL.

Link to great Audio Podcast with Blaine Baggett

“The 90-minute “American Rocketeer” tells the little-known and controversial story of Frank Malina, who was a Caltech graduate student studying aviation engineering in the 1930s when two young men wanting to build rockets approached him. He agreed to team up, having no idea of what that decision would mean to his life, to Caltech and to the nation. “-Caltech

The film will debut at Caltech Tuesday October 25th at 8pm and will also air Nov. 3 on KCET.

According to Richard Branson’s blog , Spaceport America officially opens today.

“The first astronauts to join us on Virgin Galactic flights will be there with us, along with our Virgin Money Australia and #spacecheetah competition winners.It promises to be a momentous occasion and another big step for our great space adventure.” – Richard Branson

Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, will serve as headquarters for Virgin Galactic operations. Located in New Mexico the spaceport is owned by New Mexico. Virgin Galactic has a 20 year lease on the facilities. The concrete runway is 200 feet wide by 10,000 feet long — nearly two miles!

Spaceport America-Terminal Hanger Facility - photo credit:Spaceport America click to enlarge

Here is a great photo of a Merlin engine test at the brand new dual test stand in McGregor, Texas. The company purchased the McGregor, Texas, testing facilities from Beal Aerospace.

SpaceX-Dual test stand McGregor Texas --SpaceX


UPDATE: Derek will be answering any questions you may have over at Slashdot. Click here to submit a question.

Derek Deville holds camera unit from the Qu8k rocket

I have been meaning to write about this for days. This is the incredible Carmack Prize Attempt launch of the Qu8k rocket at Balls 20. This is one of the more exciting amateur launches reaching 121,000 feet and travel up to 2180 mph. It goes to show you how as individuals near space is within reach using High Power Rocketry techniques. I must commend Derek Deville for a job well done. Unfortunately one of the rules of the Carmack Prize states that “The rocket must record a GPS serial log of the flight with at least one report above 100,000ft plus the launch altitude.” and it is the understanding of the Rocketry Blog that the GPS data was unfortunately lost.

“On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville’s Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”) launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000′ before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible.”

Link here to the Qu8k Website


Launch of my Semroc Astro-1

Many rocketeers from the golden age of rocketry were brought into the sport through beginners kits. The most famous kit was probably the Estes Alpha but many chose the Centuri Astro-1.
The Astro-1 appeared for the first time in the 1969 Centuri catalog. Centuri designed the Astro-1 to be an excellent beginners kit. One of my favorite aspects of the Astro-1 were the large fins that just screamed “Speed”! The Astro-1 included a new concept known as the “Quick-Change” engine lock that became standard on model rockets. Initially the Plastic Nose Cone was advertised as a “Plastic Payload Cone” and the parachute was a mighty 16 inch diameter. The model was available from Centuri from 1969 until 1983.

Centuri #KB-17 and was introduced with a price of $1.75

The original plans can be found at Jim-Z – Link here

Parts for Centuri Astro 1 #KB-17/#5047

  • 1 PNC     5”   (2 parts on payload version)
  • 1  Elastic Shock Cord               SC-18   1/8″W x 24″L
  • 1  Shock Cord Fastener           SCF-1
  • 1 Chute         16”
  • 1 Body Tube    9.45” L      ST-10
  • 1 Launch Lug     2.25″ L   LL-2
  • 1  Balsa Sheet     BFM-10  3″W x 11″L x 3/32″  – Pattern here
  • 1  Thrust Ring       3/8″L     TR-7
  • 2  Centering Rings    1/4″L   CR-10
  • 1  Engine Tube         3″L     ST-7
  • 1  Engine Lock              EL-1
  • 1  Decal    3″W x 4.5″L   – Pattern here

Kits available:
Semroc Astro-1 (Great kit and true to the original)

You can also print up a lovely downscale of the Astro-1.

Astro-1 downscale by Chris Michielssen available in my Partial Paper Rockets section.

Click here to download this paper model. (you will need a PNC-5 Mosquito nose cone or print one from here)

Centuri Astro 1

Chris's downscale of the Centuri Astro 1


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