After finishing Afternoon Delite , Ellen Farber and I soon decided to move on to another summer project.
I don't know exactly how this idea was created, but it was decided that we should make a rocket out of old coors light cans. Yay recycling! It was originally proposed that we create the Coors V, in commemoration of the Saturn V. This project also required a lot of running around to hardware stores at home depot, trying to find the best place to buy the epoxy that we wanted, and buying the necessary supplies. We used an E-9 motor because that was the largest we could find in nearby hobby stores, and managed to adapt the motor mounting kit to the inside of a can with the top and bottom removed. When the motor was selected we realized that we had to scale back the rocket so Instead of a 5 of 7-can configuration we went with a single can stack. The project became a test bed for what will eventually by the Coors V rocket.
Engine : E9
Body: Coors light cans x3
Parachute: estes rocket kit plastic chute
Nosecone: Coors light bottle
Altitude : 426 ft
The nose-cone and entire forward section were separated during the ejection charge because we had not been able to securely fasten the shock cord to the can. Video coming soon.
The Coors V will require about 56 cans. I'm working on it.
While at the NASA Robotics Academy this summer, one of the activities we did was attend the Alabama Space Grant Consortium's High-powered Rocketry Workshop. There we learned about the University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) competition and all of the various facets for starting a team and competing. That all sounded like a lot of paperwork, and as everyone there was primarily a robot nerd, were just excited about getting to build big rockets and get National Association of Rocketry (NAR) High-powered Level 1 certifications.
We got these really great starter kits by MadCow Rocketry called the Patriot, and had a few days to build and paint them. No one on our team seemed particularly excited about the prospect of painting the rocket, which we believed added little intrinsic value to the rocket other than reduce drag.
We felt that we could do better than just build some dumb rocket that went up and came back down. We wanted to do something cool. We wanted to do something different. It was no coincidence that we came to this unanimous conclusion just minutes after the conclusion of a talk by the legendary Tim Pickens.
Tim Pickens Has been active in amateur rocketry for about as long as anyone can remember and made himself well known for his daring endeavors, brilliance and quality rocket design. He became the lead propulsion engineer for Space Ship One, developing the hybrid motor that won scaled composites and Virgin Galatic to win the Anasari X-prize. He then went on to start orion propulsion and made a ton of money doing rocket engine design and support for military, NASA, and commercial sectors. Recently (since we have last seen him) He has been leading the Rocket City Space Pioneers in their quest to win the Google Lunar X-prize. He is also well known for his fun and zany home projects, many of which include rocket propulsion.
We came to the conclusion that we could put a video camera inside of the rocket and film the ascent and descent . After much shopping and deliberating, we decided to use an Olympus point in shoot that was owned by me (YIKES!). We had our work cut out for us in making this relatively simple project happen. It took many trips to home depot and other stores in Huntsville to find parts that would work well, fit well, and be light enough for our rocket. The most challenging part of this project was planning the assembly as we had to construct the payload bay after we had already assembled the rocket. This required adding another bulk head, camera mounting, keeping the nose-cone securely attached, payload interconnect, another shock cord mount, and hole for the lens. We also needed to create a much more complicated checklist and pre-flight procedures.
Luckily our project was a success and we had a safe launch with an H motor.
The camera is not really made for shooting video and actually kind of sucks at it. I need to get a better video camera for the next time that I launch this. It also had a difficult time focusing due to the edge of the hole being visible by the camera, and the rapidly spinning terrain. When the parachute charge went off. The camera went black but continued to record sound. We believe this may be from the mechanical shutter closing due to the sudden jerk, but all theories are really just speculation.
Afternoon Delite is in my room right now and is awaiting the spring, when it will fly again.
It was a crazy weekend. So much stuff happened at SpaceVision and I met so many really cool and influential people in NewSpace it is kind of mind-boggling. I met a lot of people there who are giants in the industry, whose names can be mentioned in a lot of settings and almost everyone knows who they are. I did not meet enough students from other parts of the country, but there is simply a fundamental limit to the number of people I can remember from any given weekend.
Anyway, all of the speakers were pretty amazing and I had such a good time seeing all of my NASA academy pals there. I have come away with so much enthusiasm and energy that I just want to graduate right away and start making spaceships. Or go to the moon.
One of the things I realized I had to do there was get my name out there, and start documenting all of the projects I have done and will be doing.
Another thing that got me really excited about while I was there was learning about SEDS. Before I arrived I was not even aware that it stood for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. It may be a testament to how cool SpaceVision was that before the weekend was over, I had dedicated myself to creating the Montana State University SEDS chapter. We have a large student base who is interested in Space and a number of faculty who has had a lot of experience in the space industry, so I think we can have some very interesting presentations. I am also not the only one who decided to start / restart a SEDS chapter after being at SpaceVision. Ellen Farber will be leading the charge at Harvard to re-start SEDS there.
I know that SpaceVision 2011 will be amazing and I plan on being there in Boulder. I got to meet a lot of people from CUSEDS and it is going to rock my socks.