Monday, November 02, 2009


A Bloggy Rocket heads for the firmament.

I’ve written before about one of the great Nerdly Hobbies from my youth: Model Rocketry.

Apparently, I’m not the only nerd out there... because the infamous Yabu loves his rockets, too. So much so that he brought a pile of rocket-launchy supplies to the recent Hysterics at Eric’s.


There’s something magical about the combination of rocket-powered projectiles and half-drunken bloggers that sets the blood a-tingle. And Eric has the perfect location, with no nearby trees or obstacles that might interfere with recovery. Not.

We’ve indulged our Rocket Jones at earlier gatherings, most notably three years ago. But this year’s flights were exceptional. We made five successful recoveries out of seven launches, leaving two rockets to decompose slowly in the woods that surround the Straight White Compound. And every flight was picture-perfect, with the recovery systems deploying exactly as designed.

Controlled DescentSpeaking of recovery systems, we managed to steal a march on the model rocketry industry by inventing a totally new method... something that does not involve the conventional techniques of induced instability, parachutes, streamers, or gyroscopic motion - all long-established techniques of ensuring a rocket’s safe and undamaged return to earth.

I’m proud to introduce the Inflatable Ovine Recovery System (IORS).

Here’s how it works:

A helium-filled IORS (a spare unit is visible in the photograph below) is attached to a ground-based tether and released to an altitude equal to the expected maximum altitude of the flight.

The rocket is launched, using standard electrical ignition protocol.

Love-Sheep and Rockets
Launch using standard electrical ignition, with spare IORS to right. [Photo courtesy of Teresa of Technicalities]

Activation of the ejection charge causes the rocket to dock with the IORS, in the special Docking Receptacle provided. The tether is then reeled in for a successful recovery.

I’ve posted a post-launch image below the fold to illustrate the configuration of the rocket and IORS after a successful recovery. The world of model rocketry will never be the same!

Post-deployment photograph of model rocket with Inflatable Ovine Recovery System (IORS), illustrating successful docking configuration.

No comments: