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Amateur Rocketeer Derek Deville's Qu8k Rocket Flies to 120,000+ Feet (Video) 165

Posted by Roblimo
from the up-up-and-away dept.
Derek Deville is a rocket hobbyist. A lot of us have messed with Estes Model Rockets, which start at about $13 for a pre-assembled rocket that can go 800 feet straight up. Derek's rockets are on a whole different level. His personal rocket altitude record is closer to 33 miles, which is about 150 times as high as the entry-level Estes rocket -- and takes more than 150 times as much effort to build and launch. Derek's employer, Syntheon LLC, helps him out a lot with tools and materials. Lots of other people help him, too. Derek has been mentioned on Slashdot before. This video is a chance to get to know him a bit better. And anyone who shoots rockets to the top of the Stratosphere for fun is worth knowing, right?

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Amateur Rocketeer Derek Deville's Qu8k Rocket Flies to 120,000+ Feet (Video)

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  • Re:Honestly, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:15AM (#39287181)

    I have done effluent studies for rockets of this size and they produce about 70 pounds of water, about a pound or two of HCl, about 12 pounds of aluminum oxide, and about 4 pounds of carbon or so and some other mostly benign stuff per 100 pounds propellant. To put this in perspective they pollute less than a big rig running for one hour and do so in very remote areas where the material disperses to immeasurable levels immediately.

    To the folks that are concerned about stratospheric pollution, these rockets burn out in the air and coast about 2/3 of the altitude or so.

    Pollution from rockets is a straw man argument. There are too few flown worldwide to ever matter.

    JJ

  • by trongey (21550) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:18AM (#39287203) Homepage

    Are vertical distances somehow different from horizontal distances, or distances in any other orientation?

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:10AM (#39287873)

    ... in 30 seconds this tiny little rocket manages to output almost the same amount of pollutants as a 40 ton truck produces in an hour? And you think thats clean??

    I've nothing against this guy and his hobby, it looks fun, but please, lets not pretend that rockets are the slightest bit enviromentally friendly!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:18AM (#39288025)

    1) Yes, this is basically a purely ballistic device with passive stability. Start putting any sort of guidance or active control on it and you're changing a "high power amateur rocket" into a "guided missile" which will attract a LOT of attention from the authorities.

    2) Fin design is fairly well understood in a textbook and practical sense. People have been building things with fins for millenia, and the science of aerodynamic stability is well known. It *is* tricky in some ways because the CG of the rocket is continuously changing as the fuel burns, not to mention that for a BIG rocket like this, the atmospheric density changes a lot. The hard part is keeping the fins intact under the loads.

    3) a Rockoon? Been done, not entirely clear that it helps a whole lot. You buy a lot of mass and complexity to avoid the first 30km of flight, but to get into orbit takes a whole lot more energy. But there are folks experimenting with it. It's a lot cheaper to just buy more fuel and build a bigger rocket than to deal with building and flying balloons (High Altitude Ballooning has it's own share of complexities both in an Engineering and regulatory standpoint).

  • by khallow (566160) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:16AM (#39288979)

    ... in 30 seconds this tiny little rocket manages to output almost the same amount of pollutants as a 40 ton truck produces in an hour? And you think thats clean??

    I've nothing against this guy and his hobby, it looks fun, but please, lets not pretend that rockets are the slightest bit enviromentally friendly!

    It's worth noting here that pretending the rockets are environmentally friendly, is less of a fraud than pretending they are environmentally dangerous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:38AM (#39289333)

    Let's see. Two guys apply for a high paying engineering job. One has a degree. The other is a world class rocket builder. Who get the job?

    The guy with the degree of course. HR will throw the other resume out.

    Two guys date the same hot girl. One has a nice house. The bother is a world class rocket builder with high paying engineering job. Who gets the girl?

    The guy with the big house of course. "Hey want to come back to my place and relax in my hot tub?" Or "Hey want to see my rocket? --SLAP"

    You really need to re-adjust your perspective of what is attractive to women and employers.

  • by dlgeek (1065796) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:48AM (#39289463)
    The two aren't even close to comparable, for two reasons: 1.) That's only valid if you're comparing two means to accomplish the same goal. If someone was suggesting moving cargo on land via rocket-power, your complaints would almost be justified (except, see below), but these accomplish completely seperate goals. Come up with a less polluting way to get into space, we'll certainly listen to you.

    2.) You're comparing pollution per time, not pollution per mile. If you want a fair comparison, you want the total amount of pollution to accomplish the task. If I could (theoretically) come up with a rocket system that can move cargo along a 60-mile track in less than 30 seconds, compared to a truck that'd take an hour to do it, I still come out ahead even though the rocket pollutes more per second than the truck.

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