Saturday, October 06, 2007


So we've been building this water rocket. Actually, I've been doing the design/build work whilst JediBoy as been the much-too-eager ground crew. Like most projects I start, my reach tends to barely exceed my grasp and the rocket-building took on new complexities at every turn.

The concept is simple enough: use a standard 2-liter plastic pop bottle as the main component, add some fins for stability, a nosecone for aerodynamics, fasten a parachute, and hack together a launching apparatus. Then you fill your rocket with water (about 40% full) and pressurize it with air. The launcher keeps it all together and, when you release the rocket, it flies. In fact, 100 feet is not an unusual target with these things.

We built the rocket. We built a lovely standing launcher to control pressurization and rocket release. We tested at every turn with small, controlled flights of about 20-30 feet. Everything just worked. Watch:

Today was our final test before going for serious altitude. The test - make sure the nosecone would fall off easily and release the parachute.

Here's the 'before':

And here's the 'after':

Yes, after 2 semi-successful tests, the nosecone failed to fall off when we increased the amount of water and air pressure. The additional thrust (we think) caused the nosecone to jam, and the parachute could not deploy.

But we will try again. London needs a space program.


Kid Dork said...

You can't fool me. Although that launch looked real, I *know* it was faked in a TV studio down in Texas. The shadows were all wrong, for starters.

David said...

As an autonomous astronaut I fully support you space shot. As a fatherless boy, I dreamed of having a father like you.

David said...

BTW, pay no attention to Kid Dork, he is a well-known paranoid and writer of poor quality books on conspiracy theories.

Crazylegs said...

KD - Dammit but you've found me out. Shadows! How could I overlook this? I suppose we'll need an insurance policy, so name your price, damn you.

David - Your comments always bring a sense of grace to the proceedings. I grok the fatherless boy meme, myself. I suppose it's why I'm still a kid. And as for KD; he should be warned that poor quality conspiracy theorists usually end up on public radio programmes or somesuch, shouldn't he?

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