Toy Rockets

You know you never outgrow this stuff, right? When I was a kid I used to love these things. I launched rockets held together with duct tape and hope. Today, I launch rockets held together with duct tape, epoxy, and hope. It's all wonderful fun!

I got re-introduced to toy rockets when I was dating a young lady who said she'd never seen them fly before. We immediately went to the hobby store, bought one of the Estes kits, and spent a happy couple of days launching it over and over until it finally melted from sheer abuse. When I had the NFR Holiday Party in 1999, I sent all the technical staff rocket kits with stern instructions to build them and come to the party with them ready to fly. Well, the beer and rockets flew, and Bill and Lorette Cheswick brought a few mid-power kits of their own, and everyone had a great time. Now, I like to always have at least one built and ready to fly just in case there's a kid around, or someone who's too serious comes by for a couple of days and needs forceful lightening up.

Mission 1:

The launch of the "whatthehellisthat" 2-stage D-engined homebrew rocket. July 4, 2005.

I built this rocket out of spare parts and stuff from my rocket box, and came up with my own free-reentry fin cannister design. Basically, the whole bottom of the rocket consisted of neatly fit together motor mounts and tubes, with just enough space in them to fit the pieces of duct tape that held the booster to the main engine.

On liftoff it performed perfectly, flying from the designated launch area near the barn, across the pond (where separation occurred) and into the hay field. Recovery efforts were marred by the exuberant assistance of the Dog People who did their best to tromp the fin cannister into the pond so that it would never be found again.

Lessons learned from this mission: You win some, you lose some, sometimes you only lose half.

(Video, 1.2MB Mpeg, speed factor 1/2)