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-   -   Precision Launch Pads? (http://www.oldrocketforum.com/showthread.php?t=8457)

kevinj 01-26-2011 06:01 AM

I don't see much use in it, but it still sounds like a fun project.

kj

Bill 01-26-2011 02:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Sams
Home field advantage stops working when a representative of the national club comes over and changes the angle on your rod with the result your rocket ends up in a tree :eek:



Bad officiating can trump the home field advantage almost every time. Was this at McGregor? That big tree got it when the tornado went through.


Bill

Bill 01-26-2011 02:18 PM

Though the capability may bother some, I have always been fascinated by the possibility of combining a steerable parachute, a GPS receiver and a microcontroller.

Such a system is not likely to be good enough to guarantee a win in spot landing, but it will lessen wind drift and can be programmed to try to avoid hazards such as roads, clumps of trees or bodies of water.


Bill

pterodactyl 01-26-2011 02:46 PM

How about a Gemini Titan with an RC Rogallo wing capsule recovery system? Naturally you'd need to have the scale recovery skids for full fidelity points. If things got ugly during glide recovery you could eject the scale astronauts out of the capsule using some Quest 'freeps' in the ejection seats.

I guess NASA planted enough of their boilerplate capsules in the desert during development that they stuck with parachutes and a water recovery. That doesn't mean we have to!!

Beowulf 01-26-2011 03:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedster
Remember Lercari Engineering in 1972? I still have their catalog. They sold several motorized launchers and even an automatic countdown ignition system complete with a nixie tube display! Their motorized launchers tilted your rocket in azimuth and elevation. Had microprocessors been abundant in 1972 they probably would have tried just what you described!

Wow, that must have been an amazing launcher for the time. I've never heard of them, but that sure sounds impressive!

Beowulf 01-26-2011 03:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by pterodactyl
How about a Gemini Titan with an RC Rogallo wing capsule recovery system? Naturally you'd need to have the scale recovery skids for full fidelity points. If things got ugly during glide recovery you could eject the scale astronauts out of the capsule using some Quest 'freeps' in the ejection seats.

I guess NASA planted enough of their boilerplate capsules in the desert during development that they stuck with parachutes and a water recovery. That doesn't mean we have to!!
I was about to say that your suggestion didn't really fit with my idea of a "precision launch pad," but then I saw Bill's post above. Your idea is a bit outside of my budget!

I have to admit that I briefly considered adding RC servos to an Estes SR-71 rocket and eschewing parachute recovery altogether. That's a completely different project. ;)

Doug Sams 01-26-2011 03:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill
Was this at McGregor? That big tree got it when the tornado went through.
Yes, it was McGregor, but not the big tree. Instead, it was downrange, in the trees along the creek on the right. There was concern that rockets were going uprange, over the spectating/prep area. So the solution was to overcompensate :rolleyes:

Doug

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GregGleason 01-26-2011 10:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedster
Remember Lercari Engineering in 1972? I still have their catalog. They sold several motorized launchers and even an automatic countdown ignition system complete with a nixie tube display! Their motorized launchers tilted your rocket in azimuth and elevation. Had microprocessors been abundant in 1972 they probably would have tried just what you described!

Tedster


I remember Lercari. Back in the day, I saw their ad in one of the rocket magazines so I ordered a catalog from them. It took a LOOONNGG time for it to arrive, so long that when it arrived I was surprised because I thought it was hopelessly lost. To their credit, there was an included note apologizing for the late delivery. I also remember that the graphics were not all that great in the catalog.

The really cool thing is not on the launching end, it's on the recovery end. I want recovery systems to home in on where I am. I'm sure it's possible, but it would be pricey.

Greg

blackshire 01-27-2011 01:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beowulf
After our flight on Saturday , I am very interested in building a launch pad that allows for more accurate targeting than our basic Estes one. I have an old german equatorial mount, to which I am thinking about attaching a platform. The idea is that I could adjust the tripod to level the pad, and then set the launch angle and direction using the mount.

What I'd really like to be able to do is to enter the current environmental conditions into an application and then use the calculated rod deflection and direction in order to return the rocket close to the launch pad. Heck, if I could make it land back on the rod, then I would!

My question is this: has this type of project been done before? I don't see a similar thread having been posted previously, which leads me to suspect if such a thread exists, that it has been archived. Either that, or the idea itself is folly. What do you all think? Thanks for your feedback!
This could be the seed of a fascinating NAR Research & Development contest category entry. You could use the same "wind-weighting" equations that are used to aim the launchers of full-scale unguided sounding rockets so that the rockets will land in desired impact areas. As the folks at Wallops Island, White Sands, Woomera, and other ranges do, you could collect pre-launch wind data from a ground-based portable anemometer and acquire "winds aloft" data by tracking the motions of released helium balloons. (The "big boys" sometimes botch their "wind-weighting"--the second British Skylark sounding rocket veered far away from its assigned impact zone on the Woomera Range in Australia because the launch crew accidentally skipped one of the equations that they used to compute the rockets' trajectories based on the winds aloft!)

Bill 01-27-2011 05:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
This could be the seed of a fascinating NAR Research & Development contest category entry. You could use the same "wind-weighting" equations that are used to aim the launchers of full-scale unguided sounding rockets so that the rockets will land in desired impact areas. As the folks at Wallops Island, White Sands, Woomera, and other ranges do, you could collect pre-launch wind data from a ground-based portable anemometer and acquire "winds aloft" data by tracking the motions of released helium balloons. (The "big boys" sometimes botch their "wind-weighting"--the second British Skylark sounding rocket veered far away from its assigned impact zone on the Woomera Range in Australia because the launch crew accidentally skipped one of the equations that they used to compute the rockets' trajectories based on the winds aloft!)



On the micro scale that we deal with, the winds change way too much for this data to remain relevant.


Bill


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