On a mailing list that I belong there has been a bit of talk about the Vanguard rocket, you know the one that famously exploded on the pad with America’s first satellite on board!. Besides that the talk was focused on how it was able to achieve insertion of the payload into orbit, this eventually led to someone posting a link to a pdf of the “Vanguard Satellite Launching Vehicle – Engineering Summary“.
What does this have to do with amateur rocketry? A lot actually, pouring through the report one finds a lot of useful information and ideas that could be replicated in one’s own project, for example, the staging technique, which used simple explosive bolts, and the nose cone that had a simple spring mechanism in the top to make sure the halves split apart and clear the satellite and rocket stage. Although not state of the art at this date the report still provides a valuable insight into the rocket at the time and the engineering techniques and ideas used, well worth a browse over for the budding rocket engineer.
If reading a 200 odd page report is not your thing, then this video sums up and highlights the major points of the program, still worth a watch even if you are/have read the report.