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Space Science Technology

Qu8k Rockets Above the Balloons 153

darkjohnson writes "Lately we've been inundated with 100k' balloon flights and amazing video footage from space — the flights usually taking better than an hour to achieve apogee. Derek Deville took a shortcut to 121k' using a 'home made' Q rocket motor and a ton of engineering genius. On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Qu8k (pronounced 'Quake') launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' in 92 seconds before returning safely to earth.This small documentary on the flight is probably one of the most brilliant Amateur Rocket videos out there right now." The launch was an attempt to claim the Carmack Prize. (And Deville evidently likes to launch another kind of rocket, too.)
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Qu8k Rockets Above the Balloons

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  • by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @03:25PM (#37655710) Homepage Journal

    The part holding the cameras was made from plastic, because he didn't have enough time to machine it. It melted when the rocket hit mach 3+, because of the compression shock wave that formed in front of it. (Commonly misreported in the media as "air friction")

    Essentially, the plastic thing poked out of the rocket. The mach 3+ air had to be brought to a dead stop right in front of it. The way it does that is by forming a high pressure shock right in front of it. Basic physics, when you compress air is gets hot - in this case, melting the plastic rocket bits...

  • Wake me when one of the "private" space outfits finally puts a human being in space

    So you are suggesting that the efforts of Burt Rutan didn't qualify as "putting people into space? You also think that "Space Adventures" is a science fiction magazine?

    While I'll admit it has taken longer for regular sub-orbital flights to happen since the Ansari X-Prize, private citizens have been able to get into space and even orbit. And of those who have been able to into space on their own dime (or that of a private employer), passenger spacecraft have been able to get above the Kármán line.

    I agree, this particular rocket, the Qu8k, isn't especially amazing other than it has done something that few have done before on their own. 100k feet is a remarkable accomplishment, and the fact that these guys did that accomplishment on a rather limited budget is all that more amazing. Assuming they could put this into production, they have a viable sounding rocket if they care.... something which has an established market if they would care to get into that kind of business.

    The interesting thing here is likely how cheap it was to build this rocket, at least compared to other vehicles of this size and performance.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @04:00PM (#37655958) Homepage

    Sounding rockets [wikipedia.org] in this size have been around for a while. The first one was the Aerobee sounding rocket in 1947. It reached 117500m. One of the smaller Aerobee variants of the 1950s was about this size. There have been many small sounding rockets over the decades; the UK and Australia launched a lot of them.

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