TeslaPenguin1

Kerbal Space Program Unofficial Model Rocketry Megathread

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Since model rocketry is the closest most of us will get to KSP in real life, I thought I'd devote a thread to it.

Post all your pics, vids, and designs here!

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I have all of my rockets laying out on a table in my basement. I will take a picture when I get home.

In the meantime, how about a night launch passing near the moon?

 

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The rocket club at my college flew one up to ~10 km recently. I'm going to try to join them for an actual space shot sometime soon.

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I will line up my rockets to show them soon!

I actually have a rocket inspired by the Kerbal X stock craft.

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The Notebook Space Program Fleet:

3QKj8HP.png

Green = Active

Yellow = Under Construction or Damaged

Red = Yet to be built, retired, or destroyed

 

Should also be under destroyed section:

Code Red

 

 

Info, in approximate order of acquisition and first flight:

Spoiler
  1. Cruise missile - first model rocket I flew, mini engines, plastic construction. Broke on fourth flight, was repaired for use on 1-2 more flights. Active.
  2. Scorpion - second rocket I ever flew, maybe first if my memory is failing. Standard engine sizes. First B and C engines flown. Had one very sideways flight. Got stuck in a very tall tree but survived for at least a year despite being put through 60mph winds, rain, snow, and a storm that took down 300 trees across town.
  3. Quasar - similar to but less prestigious than Scorpion. Quest Aerospace model with odd engines. Flew at least four times before I lost it in a corn field.
  4. Ionizer - Never flown, was given to me broken.
  5. Comanche-3 - 3 stage rocket that goes D-C-C in high power configuration, can reach nearly half a mile in altitude. Awaiting what will probably be its final flight, because I've never actually flown it 3 staged, and when I do I'll probably lose it. At least 5 flights.
  6. Space Invader - Second rocket to get a paint job. Renamed "Mean Machine" rocket, runs on D's and E's, but has only flown twice, both times on a D. One was years ago before the paint job, and the second one got stuck to the launch pad and burned a hole in it.
  7. Olympian - Renamed and slightly modified Magician rocket. "Flew" five times. Three times with C engines as test flights, at least two with Dan the Parachute Man onboard. On its fourth mission it used an E engine, which exploded, charring the inside of the rocket, breaking a launch pad leg, and deforming the blast deflector plate. Also Dan was killed, all that remains is his melted parachute. It was repaired and a fifth flight was made, again with an E, but that one exploded as well, ruining the motor mount. I think I might have gotten a defective batch of engines or dropped them at some point, the last one in the pack will probably never be used. On one or two flights it also carried an altimeter but it didn't get high enough to register because of the explosions.
  8. Hi-Flier - Standard engine light rocket. Flown once on a C6-7 (the biggest the rocket could hold) on a cloudy day just off of my church's parking lot. Was never seen again.
  9. Astron III - Originated at Scout camp, had a mostly successful career. Once the launch lug broke off and it curved almost straight horizontally. Once the parachute partially melted. The launch lug is now a straw and the parachute is a bit deformed, but it is still active.
  10. Code Red - My friend's rocket. Flew twice, I think. On the first flight it landed 1 foot inside the town pool's fence. On the second flight the shock cord broke and the parachute/nose cone section drifted off never to be seen again. The bottom half forms the basis of the Paradox.
  11. Spaceloft - My sister got it from someone. I think we might have flown it once but I know nothing about this really.
  12. Red Beacon - probably my favorite rocket. Was originally a boring Quest Aerospace rocket called Penetrator. I modified it so the entire top half was a payload bay. It also is recovered in two separate pieces. Flight list:
    1. Carried an onboard camera, a pencil, a small piece of paper, a cookie, a lego astronaut, and a rubber lizard. The most successful Red Beacon mission.
    2. Also carried an onboard camera, as well as a bunch of candy and some more cool stuff. Arced over immediately after takeoff and crashed a few yards down before the parachutes could deploy.
    3. Used Quest Aerospace igniter, which go off even if you test the circuit. My sister decided to test the circuit while my face was a few inches from the rocket, trying to turn the camera on. Scary moment. The nosecone broke off of the payload section and there is a dead lego astronaut somewhere in the cornfield behind my house.
    4. Launched from a friend's house. The camera broke. Carried some payload. Decently successful. Used an orange ping pong ball as a nose cone.
    5. Used a new onboard camera which never worked at all. Ripoff from a shady Chinese company. Carried a full load of art supplies to make "space art." Tipped over a few seconds after launch, flew 50ft over our heads, and crashed nose first, slightly bending the body. Also used an altimeter but did not get high enough to register the altitude.
  13. Metalizer - ooooo, shiny! Has flown at least 2 times, probably 3 or more. One was my first and only so far night launch.
  14. X-1 Medusa - a ceramic rocket prototype. Flew once, got 10 feet up and then entered a spiral.
  15. X-2 Whirlwind - twin of the Medusa. Has not yet flown.
  16. X-3 Red Goblin - Breaking chronological order because I want to talk about the X series. Was a dual engine rocket made without any commercially made parts except the engines and chutes. Flew once with 2 A engines but only one ignited. Reached 10 feet.
  17. X-4 Red Skywalker - awaiting completion. 2 stage construction, no commercial parts but chutes. I need to redo the fins, they are too massive. When complete will go from a D to a C at max power.
  18. X-5 - Giant K'nex rocket (3-4ft tall) hooked up to an air compressor. Reached 10 feet in distance once before RUDing on its third flight.
  19. X-6 Blue Yonder - first experimental water rocket. Ranges of 50-80 feet were obtained. Fins got soaked and it's broken.
  20. X-7 Blue Box - second water rocket, had a nose cone and taped over fins. Flew more than 5 times, ranges of over 100 feet at 50psi and almost got stuck on the roof twice.
  21. X-8 Blue Planetoid - multi-bottle water rocket with leaks. "Flew" once to a distance of a few inches.
  22. X-8 Firecracker - I forgot I already made an X-8, hence the duplicate name. Built completely out of construction paper and tape, had one flight, when it flew around crazily land landed a few feet from me.
  23. X-9 Imagination - Gigantic multi-bottle water rocket taller than I am with remote control activated parachute designed to be flown at at least 120 psi. Unfortunately it had a lot of leaking issues near the couplings.
  24. X-10 Imagination - Rebuild of the X-9 using most of the same components, so far has not leaked, but has not flown either. The rocket is ready, but I do not have a launch pad that can support the rocket, pipe air far enough up into it, or do more than 80 psi.
  25. X-11 Memories - Third ceramic rocket, I know how to do clay now so I thought I'd be able to reduce the weight. But it didn't work. Maybe this clay is denser, maybe it was the glaze...
  26. Calypso - First in a series of 7 rockets given to me by my band teacher. Lightweight, old, capable of high altitudes on standard engines. Has become my "go-to" general rocket. A fin broke before its most recent launch so we used tape and somehow it held until impact.
  27. Egglofter - Capable of carrying an egg, but on its first flight carried a lot of trinkets and keepsakes that severely weighed it down and it tipped over. Landed in a tree, but only 5 feet up. Has not flown since.
  28. Alpha Streamer - Standard rocket which uses a 5 foot long streamer as a recovery system for laughs and giggles. Also has a tiny payload bay in the nose cone. Holds the record for fastest turnaround, I flew it twice in the span of 3 minutes. Maybe 2, I don't remember and I never finished the video.
  29. Alpha - Old (older than I am by a lot) rocket. Standard. But the parachute is shreds (on purpose to reduce fall time) and takes care to pack.
  30. HL-20 - cardboard version of a lifting body spaceplane prototype developed by NASA (I think). Has convenient places for payload, but I always manage to mess up the COM when mounting payload... The recovery mechanism (streamer to fall out on ejection) has never worked once. I have flown the rocket at least three times. Flight 1 ended with a nosedive and an impact timed with ejection, damaging the front. The second flight went mostly vertical, carried some M&M's, and ejected while still in the air, but the streamer deployed on the moment of launch. On the third flight I forgot about wanting a COM in front of the COD/COL and mounted Oreos on the back, was a very interesting flight path.
  31. Tornado - Weird tumble recovery rocket that splits in two. Launched once, I never found the top part. RIP.
  32. Mini mosquito/Neutrino - Has not flown under me yet, I believe. Mini engine.
  33. MAX-4 - Air rocket made of manila folder and duct tape converted for a 1 time use with a pyro engine. Reached ~100 feet.
  34. Unnamed Spaceplane - I started it forever ago and lost a piece, it has been sitting unfinished for a while and I may have glued the recovery section inside by accident.
  35. Toilet Seat 1 - that time I attached rocket engines to a toilet seat for a band joke. Did not make it off the launch pad (1 C engine). Will try again with an E engine cluster someday.
  36. Neutron - conventional rocket, formed the propulsion section of Toilet Seat 1.
  37. Unnamed Twin Rockets - given to me by a friend. In need of repairs.
  38. Sky Warrior - a Christmas gift for my sister that she never built, so she probably won't mind if I do.
  39. Lynx - Given to me by my band teacher I think.
  40. Hi-Flier Mk2 - also given to me by my band teacher.

Altitude Record - 1500-ish feet, held by either the Comanche-3 or the Hi-flier.

Highest power engine fired - E

Lowest altitude achieved after takeoff with a pyro engine - 10 feet

Total flights to date - around 50?

 

 

Somewhat old compilation video with the first Olympian explosion at the end:

Note, I have not flown much recently, last year was busy... My last launch was February, and before that probably August. I have to wait until the fields are harvested so I have a place to fly.

 

@cubinator... If you don't mind me asking, which college do you attend? :) Make sure to keep us posted on that!

 

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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4 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

If you don't mind me asking, which college do you attend? :) Make sure to keep us posted on that!

U of Minnesota. I'll be getting more information, and get into the team over the coming weeks. The space flight would happen within about 3 years, if we can do it (I bet we can.)

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13 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Alpha - Old (older than I am by a lot) rocket. Standard. But the parachute is shreds (on purpose to reduce fall time) and takes care to pack.

Wait... you have an old Estes Alpha???

Thats a collectors item!!!

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1 hour ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

Wait... you have an old Estes Alpha???

Thats a collectors item!!!

It's not that old, I checked. I don't remember exactly when it's from, but it's not old enough to be considered very special.

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The only successful flight from my brother's, his friends and I's completely homemade rocket program. From almost exactly a year ago:

PaJduhn.png

TpvyhJE.jpg

Homemade SRMs are hard! It's not enough to just fill a tube with explodium (KNO3) and let it fly. A big problem was that our clay nozzles kept blowing out which depressurized the motors causing them to stop producing thrust. We fixed this by adding a copper "nozzle" into the center of the clay. You can see the depressurization beautifully in this video of one of our launch failures here:

 

I miss building rockets. It's like KSP but with more risk of losing an eye!

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On 9/11/2018 at 12:31 AM, cubinator said:

The rocket club at my college flew one up to ~10 km recently. I'm going to try to join them for an actual space shot sometime soon.

10 kilometers? Thats extremely high! Like, EXTREMELY high for a model rocket. Most model rockets only reach 100-500 meters altitude. 10 kilometers is Copenhagen-Suborbitals level rocketry.

How big was that rocket?

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29 minutes ago, NSEP said:

10 kilometers? Thats extremely high! Like, EXTREMELY high for a model rocket. Most model rockets only reach 100-500 meters altitude. 10 kilometers is Copenhagen-Suborbitals level rocketry.

How big was that rocket?

Technically that would be classified as Amateur Rocketry rather than model rocketry. At the bare minimum it would be high power rocketry (Size H  engines or above). My largest "model" rocket can only do 700 meters theoretically.

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On 9/13/2018 at 9:13 AM, Ultimate Steve said:

Technically that would be classified as Amateur Rocketry rather than model rocketry. At the bare minimum it would be high power rocketry (Size H  engines or above). My largest "model" rocket can only do 700 meters theoretically.

Really? I have this one book about building model rockets that has instructions for building a two-stage rocket that can go up to about a kilometer. (3400 feet)

But that's only if you use a C6-0 and a C6-7

Edited by TeslaPenguin1

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3 minutes ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

Really? I have this one book about building model rockets that has instructions for building a two-stage rocket that can go up to about a kilometer. (3400 feet)

But that's only if you use a C6-0 and a C6-7

Probably possible but that most likely involves the most minimal of designs, perfect fin alignment, and probably no paint.

EDIT: The Comanche-3, the highest altitude Estes kit, can do 2250 feet with D12-0 C6-0 and C6-7.

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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Just now, Ultimate Steve said:

Probably possible but that most likely involves the most minimal of designs, perfect fin alignment, and probably no paint.

What? No, it just requires a pretty good finish, 3 fins (3d printed for minimum drag) and one of those fin aligners.

It is a minimum diameter rocket.

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1 minute ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

What? No, it just requires a pretty good finish, 3 fins (3d printed for minimum drag) and one of those fin aligners.

It is a minimum diameter rocket.

Edited my above post to refer to my current rocket ^^^. I guess you'd be able to make it more borderline yourself than Estes would be able to make it, so I guess that's where the discrepancy is coming from.

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On 9/13/2018 at 11:40 AM, NSEP said:

10 kilometers? Thats extremely high! Like, EXTREMELY high for a model rocket. Most model rockets only reach 100-500 meters altitude. 10 kilometers is Copenhagen-Suborbitals level rocketry.

How big was that rocket?

In the "amature rocket to orbit thread" a forum member named Riven mentioned being in a contest to reach 10km (without exceeding 15km).  Original budget was claimed $60k, but checking the SJSU rocket club website indicated a $10k target budget had been met (but no further mention of a rocket launch).

10km requires (after gravity/aero losses) 500m/s delta-v.

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On 9/15/2018 at 9:21 AM, wumpus said:

10km requires (after gravity/aero losses) 500m/s delta-v.

So how much would 1km be?

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16 hours ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

So how much would 1km be?

Since both the potential energy thanks to height and the kinectic energy of velocity is proportional to the square, I suspect it scales linearly (I've thrown that envelope away), so 50m/s?

Granted, that's 110mph and the speed  I've heard for model rockets is ~300mph (this was from when I was "model rocket aged", so might be very, very off).  But I suspect  model rockets hit an aerodynamic wall once the rocket burns out and 150m/s of delta-v has more than 100m/s of aerolosses in a few hundred meters (gravity losses are non-existent: you need huge TWR for stability (you have to accelerate to a speed where your tailfins aren't stalling before you clear the rod).

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Hey, anybody here know how to get multiple engines to ignite at the same time? It's a problem I might be facing soon

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2 minutes ago, cubinator said:

Hey, anybody here know how to get multiple engines to ignite at the same time? It's a problem I might be facing soon

As far as a model rocket goes?

I tried attaching each clip to 2 igniters once, but only one engine fired. For my next attempt I'll probably use two separate launch controllers with short towers on either side of the launch complex to generate slack in the wires so each engine has a longer ignition window.

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ignite them in parallel not series

also use a less powerful igniter, like the quest one. But beware!!! The continuity test from the Estes launcher is enough to light one of them

Edited by TeslaPenguin1

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2 minutes ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

ignite them in parallel not series

I did that. Only one ignited.

2 minutes ago, TeslaPenguin1 said:

also use a less powerful igniter, like the quest one. But beware!!! The continuity test from the Estes launcher is enough to light one of them

Learned that the hard way, rocket took off at T-3. A few flights later I told my sister "Hey don't press the button, these are the weak igniters." And guess what she did while I was inches from the rocket, trying to arm the onboard camera.

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This  http://www2.estesrockets.com/pdf/Estes_Igniters_and_their_use.pdf

seemed the best information on the net, and doesn't go much beyond "parallel, not series".  It does go into detail about using a 12V car battery, do you have a sufficient battery (or better yet, ultracapacitor) to do the job?  I can't say I was impressed by the "attach everything by alligator clips", I'd like to make sure the wire can at least follow the rocket up the launch rod before connection is lost.

Two engines shouldn't be much less than half as reliable as one, unless you don't have enough current or the ignition delay is too long.

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5 hours ago, wumpus said:

seemed the best information on the net, and doesn't go much beyond "parallel, not series".  It does go into detail about using a 12V car battery, do you have a sufficient battery (or better yet, ultracapacitor) to do the job?  I can't say I was impressed by the "attach everything by alligator clips", I'd like to make sure the wire can at least follow the rocket up the launch rod before connection is lost.

 

I have a book about model rockets, called Make: Rockets. It talks a lot about cluster ignition.

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