Curious Droid (worth following!) recently posted a video about Evel Knievel but more importantly Robert Truax and his X-3 Volksrocket design which would have made Knievel the first private astronaut to reach space. Truax is most known for Sea Dragon and the Thor missile, so is no stranger to rocket engineering.
Why is this relevant? well, Truax although a professional worked out of his garage and put the X-3 together out of surplus rocket parts. Powered by four Rocketdyne LR101 engines the rocket would loft its single passenger to 62 miles and return them safely. Unfortunately, it never flew but was extensively tested and modified under a Navy contract for a sea-launched satellite launcher, designated X-3A.
The backyard engineering of this project is pretty amazing, and it is a pity it never made flight but others are following in the footsteps so stay tuned!
Read more about Truax Engineering here.
The rocket was restricted to 4000ft altitude but looks like it all went off without a hitch. Not sure about successful chute deployment, the slow-mo video appears to show the chute shred from the fin can stage.
The Guardian also did a nice article which can be found here.
Robert Clark over at Polymath has posted an interesting blog post titled ‘Orbital rockets are now easy, page 2: solid-rockets for cube sats‘
Robert explores the use of solid rocket motors to put a CubeSat into orbit. Leveraging of current amateur and student projects which have been developing large and successful motors, an orbital launcher may be in the realms capable by such a team.
Worth a read to peak your interest!
Looks like the team are getting closer to the launch of their Skybolt 2 rocket.
Updated 2/8/2017 – Added more launch footage
IST successfully launched their Momo sounding rocket, unfortunately, a glitch in the telemetry of the rocket was encountered and the flight was terminated after 66sec of powered flight, the rocket then fell into the ocean safe zone 6.5km off shore.
I have already read talk of Momo2, so hopefully, the team can give it another shot before the year is out.
Interstellar Technologies Inc have been working towards launch of their Momo sounding rocket, this will be the first private rocket launch to go to space from Japan.
Momo is 9.9m long, 0.502m diameter and has a lift off weight of 1000kg. Able to deliver a 20kg payload to 120km in altitude the rocket is powered by a 12kN lox/ethanol pressure fed engine.
You can download the payload user guide here for more information.
The team have had a very active development path, I thoroughly suggest checking out their YouTube channel if this is the first you have heard of them!
Although out of the amateur realm, I have been following the group for some time, so fingers crossed for a successful launch.
The launch is scheduled for July 29th.