Rocketry Education

Today is the 55th anniversary of Sputnik. The first man made object to orbit the earth, Sputnik blazed the way and ushered in the Space Race. Lets take time out today to celebrate with all things Sputnik.

Here are ten to get you started

1. Build a Sputnik and here

2. Build the rocket that launched Sputnik (from my Ultimate Paper Rocket Guide)

3. Buy a model

4. Go out tonight and try to observe a current satellite passing over

5. Read a book 2 4

6. Watch a movie

7. Sputnik T-Shirts  and more here

8. Buy a commemorative pin from the Soviet Space Program

9. Knit a Sputnik

10. Buy a Sputnik memo holder

Here are some related video clips:

News Reel

Sputnik Mania Trailer

Just started a new gallery page of Starter kits from the past.

Click the image to Enter

The engine built for demonstration purpose only allows you to see the dynamics inside a hybrid rocket engine.

ULA Intern Rockets (click for PDF) image src: ULA





The 2012 Intern Rocket Launch at United Launch Alliance and Ball Aerospace is scheduled for July 28th in Pueblo,CO.
Interns will launch a series of large rockets including one called the Future Rocket at 300 lbs and 25 feet in length it is purported to be the largest model rocket launched in Colorado. The Interns use the rocket projects to go around to schools and teach aerospace and rocketry to students. Many of the payloads are designed by high school students.

Future Rocket Stats

Rocket Name: Future
Rocket Built By: ULA Interns in 5 states (AL, CA, CO, FL, TX)
Overall Height: 25 feet
Liftoff Weight: 300 lbs
Stages: 2
1st Stage Engines: N2000W (2)
2nd Stage Engine: N2000W (1)
Total Impulse: 9000 lb-sec
Oxidizer: Ammonium Perchlorate
Fuel: Hydroxyl-Terminated Prolybutadiene (HTPB)
Flight Computers: 2
Video Cameras: 3 (additional cameras on payloads)
Electronic Timers: 25
Max Altitude: 10,000 feet
Max Velocity: 400 mph
Max Acceleration: 5.5 G’s
Airframe Structure: Carbon Fiber

Close-up spectator viewing of the rockets will be from 9-10 a.m.Launches will start at approximately 10:30 a.m. and finish close to noon.
Spectators are invited to attend but must RSVP here( to receive detailed information about the launch.  After RSVPing, we will send an email reply with schedule, map/directions and further even information.
20 payloads built by college interns and high school students will beboosted into the sky by these rockets. High school teams may apply to have their payload(s) launched.
Payload information

From the AIA:
The 2013 Team America Rocketry Challenge offers a new challenge to the student teams. Here are some of the highlights for the 2013 contest:
1.Target altitude of 750 feet
2.Duration of flight should be between 48-50 seconds
3.Payload is one raw egg placed horizontally
4.External diameter of rocket must be no less than 60 millimeters
5.Recovery by a 15 inch diameter parachute
6.Gross liftoff weight of no more than 650 grams
7.Rocket motor size F, total impulse limit of 80 N-sec

50 years ago today the U.S. detonated a nuclear weapon 250 miles up in space. This was the Starfish Prime test.The warhead launched by a Thor missile reached an altitude of  680 miles and was detonated on its downward flight.

A total of 27 small rockets were launched to obtain data on the explosion.

rocket set to take readings from Starfish Prime explosion

…and what an explosion it was. The resulting EMP knocked out the lights in Hawaii over 1000 miles away.

Here is a great documentary video that includes Van Allen’s role in the Starfish Prime test


Here is the official U.S. declassified film about it

Today is the Birthday of one of the major fathers of modern Rocketry, Hermann Oberth. Born in Romania on June 25th 1894 he became obsessed with Jules Verne’s novel “From the Earth to the Moon” when he was still a child. Later transplanted in Germany Oberth became the great promoter of space travel. First with his small booklet/thesis “The Rocket into Interplanetary Space” and then as an early member of the “Society for Space Travel” (Verein fuer Raumschiffahrt or VfR) that was formed in 1927. In 1929 he released his book Wege zur Raumschiffahrt (“Ways to Spaceflight”)

Oberth Timeline:

1929 – Static Firing of liquid fueled rocket engine

1929 – Lost sight in left eye while working as the technical consultant on Frau im Mond

1930 – took on a young assistant – Werner Von Braun

After the War – In the years following World War II, Oberth came to the United States to work on research with his former student Wernher von Braun

1989 – Oberth died in Nuremburg, West Germany, on Dec. 29, 1989, at the age of 95.

Oberth in foreground – image credit: NASA

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