Re: Home Made Rocket

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 19:14:36 MDT

Spike Jones wrote:
> Jonathan Reeves wrote:
> > Any of our rocket experts heard about this?: Inventor building
> > rocket in back yard
> >
> > BEND, Ore. - Brian Walker, a toy inventor with no college degree and
> > almost no flight experience, plans to blast himself into space next
> > summer in a rocket he is building in his back yard.
> The numbers look about right, 7k pounds of H2O2 to get
> 30 miles up, but the forward thruster arrangement looks
> prone to oscillating instability. But perhaps hes worked
> out a tricky way around that problem. If he just wants a
> 30 mile straight up joyride, seems like he might be better off
> buying a spare sounding rocket from one of the
> commercial outfits.
> Anyhows, good luck and nobodyspeed, Mr. Walker! spike

I've corresponded with Brian, suggested a few reference books for him to
read, and strongly urged him to do some subscale experiments. He's
laboring under the mistaken impression that a rocket backpack is
inherently stable, while in fact it is continuously guided by small
movements of the pilot, just like a standing person. Remove (or
blindfold) the pilot and it will crash in seconds. His vehicle layout
is definitely aerodynamically unstable, so it would tumble out of
control quickly.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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