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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rocket Science 101

I came upon an interesting site (hopefully this is not a fake site like the birdman site I wrote about a while back).

Cophenhagen Suborbitals.

An open-source, donation funded rocket company attempting to put a man into orbit.

The first video is rocket science at its best. Here's a guy building a rocket engine with his bare hands. Its a straight-forward 1950's design. He goes through a complete explanation of how it works and why.  Save for his knowledge and science of how the engine works this is something that any relatively sophisticated machine shop could build.

The coolest part is that if you watch carefully you can see his hands are dirty.

The next two videos show test launches of their rockets.

Not exactly your NASA level organization but they've managed to get a lot done for relatively little money and effort.

I find it interesting that NASA, currently without a shuttle or equivalent, requires tens or hundreds of billions of dollars to do what they do.

In particular the guy in the first video explains that they are basically using Nazi V-2 generation two technology - something you'd see in the 1950's - to build the engine he's working on.

I think they are succeeding because they do not have an institutionalized infrastructure to support.

Today there are a good half dozen rocket companies - including Virgin Galactic - planing to put people and equipment in space for pay.  SpaceX has won a significant NASA contract to put equipment into space.

None of them using NASA technology directly.

For a long time NASA has held the focus of spaceflight - probably since putting men on the moon in the late 1960's and early 1970's. 

But that has leadership has waned.

Today all over the globe companies are working to create space flight technology without government funding.

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