Amateur Rocketry Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, November 30 at noon Pacific for the Amateur Rocketry Hack Chat with Kip Daugirdas!

This might be going out on a limb, but it seems like most of us probably fooled around with model rockets when we were younger. Those fantastic Estes kits were great fun to put together, and launching them was always a big neighborhood event, and one of the few that could make even the coolest of the cool kids pay attention to the nerds, if only for a little while. Launch day had it all — a slight element of danger, the rotten egg stink of spent propellant, a rocket gently floating back to Earth from a dizzying height of 100 meters, and the inevitable tree-climbing party to retrieve a lost rocket.

join-hack-chatBut while model rocketry is fun, it doesn’t scale up very well. If you want to reach the edge of space, you’re going to need to make the leap across the border to amateur rocketry. That’s where the big kids play, with real engineering needed to produce and control the forces required to reach altitudes of 100 km or more. Kip Daugirdas has made that leap, building rockets capable of almost getting to the Kármán line. It’s not easy — there was plenty of design work, static engine testing, and loads of test flights leading up to it, and surely more to come. Kip will stop by the Hack Chat to help us understand what’s needed to press the edge of space, and hopefully share his plans for going all the way.

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, November 30 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

12 thoughts on “Amateur Rocketry Hack Chat

  1. Article is a lie.

    None of us didn’t blow up our Estes rockets after they got ragged.

    If you didn’t ever put explosives in your old model rockets, there was something wrong with you.

    1. I will admit that sometimes the parachute charge was too tempting to use as intended. I never destroyed my rockets from an Estes kit, but I built plenty of much rougher from-scratch models who’s payloads were mixes of magnesium, iron, black powder, and other metallurgical curiosities.

  2. It is important not to encourage such activities within the realm of organized model rocketry. The ATF along with the NFPA, CPSC, all would love to see the hobby go bye-bye, just give them a good reason and it surely will happen.

    Instead look into the awesome world of amateur firework building. Firework rockets are quite versatile with many options for the heading (payload) of choice.

    1. Do not fear government. As long as amateurs do not hurt or endanger others they should have free reign to explore targeting technologies, etc. Just wait for the next China balloon. Do you really think some amateur rocket guy will sit back and let the thing get knocked down over water if he can do a controlled drop in a cornfield and share what he finds with the rest of the world?

  3. Conceptually, this is an interesting hobby but when I investigated a local club some years ago they had some kind of rule about “no guidance systems” and “no liquid fuel” – I hope those are no longer operative, it was like they had taken the two most interesting things to work on and just said “No, the Strictures of the Butlerian Jihad prohibit it!!!!” which kinda killed my interest in it. I’m not really that interested in making progressively larger and more expensive pipes and seeing how high they go. Not of course suggesting that they should stick some high speed IR quadrature detectors on there and have competitions shooting down target drones, but wouldn’t you like to land a guided rocket on an RC barge? As I understand it they’ve come round to allowing stabilization so I hope I have some misconceptions here and it’s not just “OMG it went so high” and blurry photos anymore. Maybe hybrid solid/liquid engines?

    1. A guidance system makes the rocket a guided missile. 10 years federal, same as a machine gun.

      There are some that claim to have parsed the rules and use ‘stability systems’. I whish them luck in their criminal cases.

      Any explosive in your rocket is also a missile. Don’t do it if your old enough to be tried as an adult.

      ATFE would be an EVEN BETTER convenience store.

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