Instagram Pic of the Week

Instagram Pic of the Week

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Happy #FuelFriday! Look closely at these pictures and you’ll see what I mean. Pictured here are components from an LR87 engine. This type of engine powered the first stage of the Titan II rocket used during Project Gemini. This engine was fed a unique mixture of rocket fuel and oxidizer, in the form of Aerozine 50 and nitrogen tetroxide. These components ignited on contact with one another. Because they react violently and instantaneously they’re known as hypergolic propellants. This was a nasty combination. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the business end of the engine at the time of ignition. There are other types of rocket fuel we will learn about next Friday, so be sure to like The Space Shot so you don’t miss a post. Closeup pictures are ones I took at the @kscosmosphere during one of my many visits to the museum.

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Instagram Pic of the Week

British Reaction Research

I was recently pointed to this blog, British Reaction Research, detailing the progress of blogger and rocket engineer, Carl, as he builds a liquid-fueled rocket engine.
Not just your normal amateur liquid rocket engine, Carl is attempting to make an aluminium tube bundled engine. For those not familiar with this construction, the engine is built up of multiple tubes, shaped to achieve the desired coolant velocity and usually brazed together to form the rocket engine.

J2 engine construction (Credit: NASA)

The latest update delves into the testing process in order to use these tubes in the bundle.

I have been looking into the forces required to break a hypothetical aluminium test piece, in order to come up with a set of dimensions that keeps the pressure needed within acceptably safe limits.

Make sure to follow the British Reaction Research blog as there is a ton of information in there all amateur builders will find very useful, and stay up to date with the latest on the tube bundled engine!

Launch of Nexo I

Copenhagen Suborbitals recently launch their Nexo I rocket as they carry on down the path towards a manned space flight.

The rocket launched from the group’s mobile launch platform, Sputnik, in the Baltic Sea, of the island of Bornholm.

Unfortunately, the rocket suffered an anomaly and never reached its performance goals, plummeting nose-first into the sea as seen in the above video. The camera work was not the best so hopefully, another video or even onboard video comes to light soon. Continue reading “Launch of Nexo I”

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

When I started out with this blog/news I did not really know what exactly what I was going to talk about and how to convey it. The original idea had come up in conversation with a fellow KiwiSpace member as more of an overview of what amateur rocket projects are happening around the world at the moment. Already having an interest I soon found myself deciding that there needed to be a site where all the news of these projects could be found, similar to the mainstream space news sites, but for amateurs.

9 months on and well over a dozen projects regularly covered, Mach 5 Low-down is now starting to find its feet, with regular visitor numbers and word getting out there amongst projects.

A few stats,
Over 85 posts published
Over 900 unique visitors amounting to  3500+ views
Monday at 8pm being the most popular day for visits.

Throughout this year, I thought I would share my highlights and what to look out for next year.

DARE launch of Stratos II+ is at the top of my list, having followed this project for a while it was gut wrenching that the team did not achieve flight last year, but to come back from that with all the lessons learnt and have a successful flight this year was great to follow and watch. Re-live the launch below.

As much of a highlight as a fabulous find was Brian Douglas’s control system lectures on youtube. Brian’s grasp on the subject is amazing and his ability to describe and teach you is something, I am very mechanically minded but found his lectures so simple to understand, it actually has me very interested in the subject now. Brian has lots of video’s on his youtube channel but the one I like and covered was how to land on a planet, much harder than you think when you do not have a GPS constellation above you to guide you to a pinpoint landing. Make sure to check out Brian’s channel but watch his video again.

2016 promises to be a rocket filled year, BURPG are testing their new Lotus engine and will finally launch their Starscraper rocket to space in July. SDSU are building a bigger and more capable rocket, powered by an old Atlas ICBM vernier engine, LR101, these students will be one to watch. Copenhagen Suborbitals will get to launch their Nexo rockets in the European summer after missing the launch window this year and Peter Madsen from RML Spacelab will fly their sounding rocket from the coast of Malta.
And of course RocketLab will fly their Electron rocket, launching from my own home country, NZ (I had to squeeze this mention in!).

These are only a handful of projects to look out for, I am always interested in hearing and writing about more (I know there are a lot more out there), rocket, CubeSat, theory related, I am open to everything and anything that is not quite caught mainstream and is of an amateur/experimental/student origin. Drop me a line on the about page.

Buran Shuttle (Credit: Iain Finer)
Buran Shuttle (Credit: Iain Finer)

I would like to thank everyone who has visited and helped bring Mach 5 Low-Down to what it is today, next year will be an exciting time for all.
Merry xmas and happy holidays.