The Newbie Rocketry Hack Chat Reaches For The Stars | Path Tech

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Hackaday has been round lengthy sufficient to see unbelievable modifications in what is feasible on the hobbyist stage. The instruments, strategies, and supplies accessible in the present day border on science fiction in comparison with what the common particular person had entry to even only a decade in the past. On a day-to-day foundation, that manifests as more and more elaborate digital tasks that, in lots of instances, bear little resemblance to the makeshift gadgets that graced these pages within the early 2000s.

Kip Daugirdas

However these good points aren’t restricted to our regular area of interest: Hobbyists from all walks of life have been pushing their respective envelopes. Take, for instance, the profitable launch of MESOS, a home-built reusable multistage rocket, to the very fringe of the Kármán line. It was designed and constructed by rocket fanatic Kip Daugirdas over the course of a number of years, and if all goes to plan, it’s going to take flight as soon as once more this summer season with improved {hardware} that would assist it cross the internationally acknowledged restrict of 100 kilometers marking the sting of house.

We have been fortunate sufficient to have Kip cease by Hack Chat this week to debate all issues rocketry, and the consequence was a predictably full of life dialog. Many in our group have a fascination with spaceflight, and whereas MESOS may not technically I’ve gotten this far but (there’s some debate relying on which definition you need to use), it is definitely shut sufficient to make our imaginations run wild.

As you might have guessed, a lot of the dialog was about rocket gasoline. Or extra precisely, the several types of boosters accessible for this sort of massive hobbyist rocket. Whereas liquid-fueled rocket engines maintain extremely promise when it comes to efficiency, they continue to be a substantial engineering problem for the house gamer. Additionally, as Kip explains, stable rocket motors provide a better propellant density, which suggests you will get extra energy out of a smaller car.

For MESOS, Kip says he used a propellant generally known as ammonium perchlorate compound propellant (APCP). Whereas the composition naturally varies by software, this household of propellants is similar as what you’d discover contained in the stable rocket boosters (SRBs) of the House Shuttle (and now SLS) or the ejection seat of an airplane.

It is highly effective, dependable, and surprisingly not too troublesome to combine at house. Because the title implies, the primary ingredient is ammonium perchlorate, which in the US a minimum of, just isn’t a regulated substance. To that you simply add high quality aluminum powder after which a binder to carry all of it collectively. Kip did not give the precise formulation for his secret space-scraping sauce, however did point out that the gum binder makes up about 18% of the combo.

This being Hackaday, there have been additionally questions concerning the electronics on board MESOS. Sadly for these hoping to listen to some juicy particulars concerning the rocket’s customized flight computer systems, Kip revealed that MESOS is utilizing off-the-shelf items. Particularly, a Featherweight Raven 4 and a Multitronix Kate 3.0. There have been additionally a few modded GoPro Hero 9s on board, however he really offloaded the mods to a Canadian firm known as Spine. After all, who can blame you for not desirous to deal with customized electronics on a mission like this? Once you’re actually constructing a rocket from scratch, there are already greater than sufficient elements that have to be designed and manufactured.

To that finish, Kip supplied some fascinating particulars concerning the rocket’s development. The engine mounts are machined from 6061 aluminum, whereas the fuselage itself is basically a fiberglass and carbon fiber composite. Carbon is wound across the tubular buildings and nostril, however the fin part required a posh multi-step association.

Judging by the state of MESOS when it landed, we might say it is powerful sufficient, although Kip mentions throughout chat that the protecting coating on the second stage fins could have to be checked. With a charge of climb in extra of Mach 4, the main edges have been subjected to temperatures as much as 704 °C (1,300 °F), which did not excite the carbon composite development an excessive amount of.

We need to thank Kip Daugirdas for taking the time to talk to the Hackaday group about his unbelievable achievement. He actually pulled again the curtain and shared some fascinating details about the mission and rocketry on the whole, so if he is within the passion, we advise he learn the total transcript. We won’t wait to see MESOS take to the skies once more, and we hope he finds himself on the opposite aspect of the Kármán line earlier than lengthy.


Hack Chat is a weekly on-line chat session hosted by main consultants from all corners of the {hardware} hacking universe. It is a good way for hackers to attach in a enjoyable and casual method, however if you cannot make it dwell, these basic posts, in addition to the transcripts posted on Hackaday.io, be sure to do not miss out.

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The Amateur Rocketry Hack Chat Reaches For The Stars