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  #1  
Old 08-05-2009, 10:50 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default Cloud-seeding using model rockets?

Hello All,

Has anyone here ever experimented with seeding clouds to produce rain using model rockets? (Polish meteorological scientists have successfully done this using modified maritime lifeline-carrying rockets.) If so, and if it produced positive results, what type and amount(s) of cloud-seeding agent (silver iodide crystals or dry ice) did you use?

Where I am in Alaska, we are breathing dangerously contaminated air due to smoke particulates from nearby wildfires. If I could trigger some kind of (hopefully self-increasing feedback loop) reaction to create rain, it would clear our air of smoke and help extinguish the fires. I have several potential launch sites that are free of combustible materials and dry vegetation, so that cloud-seeding rockets would not create new fires by accident.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:43 PM
tfischer tfischer is offline
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I get the idea that if it were that easy, "people" would already be doing it in response to droughts, fires, etc., but good luck!
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:25 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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I think FSI (actually, Reese Industries) offered this as a service.

No idea if it worked.
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Old 08-06-2009, 12:30 AM
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mycrofte mycrofte is offline
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Isn't that what the old "flim-flam" rainmakers used to do in the black & white movies?
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:01 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfischer
I get the idea that if it were that easy, "people" would already be doing it in response to droughts, fires, etc., but good luck!


It is more common than most people think, and there is even a commercially available rain rocket system that uses modified 55 mm artillery rockets. The main concern is the falling spent rocket components. China even has a Weather Modification Office, and they fire thousands of silver iodide-carrying rockets and artillery shells into clouds each year.

This Google page (see: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...g+rocket&aqi=g1 ) has links to several web sites on the subject.
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:21 AM
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Nuke Rocketeer Nuke Rocketeer is offline
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Despite the massive efforts spent each year seeding clouds, the data is still ambilavent. Just positive enough to keep people trying it.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:52 AM
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I'm surprised we got this far into the thread before some anal-retentive rocketeer started quoting that model rocket code pointing out what a model rocket is. I guess I'll jump into the role.

Deploying chemicals doesn't seem to fit anywhere in that code. You may be able to use certain model rocket components to create some kind of chemical deployment rocket system, but are you actually concerned with a safe recovery of the rocket or is the extinguishing of the fire a priority?

If people are using artillery shells to seed clouds, I doubt it would be practical to get enough lift from model rocket components to put a significant amount of chemical into the clouds to make a difference. You might want to explore some of the High Power rocket forums and pose your question there.
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Old 08-06-2009, 09:15 AM
tfischer tfischer is offline
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I don't doubt there's a commercially available rain rocket. Heck, there are commercially available magnets that I am to put on my car's fuel line that is supposed to boost its efficiency by 20%. The fact that they're for sale and the fact that they work (or don't) aren't the same

Not saying this definitely couldn't work. Just saying that if you could really stop a forest fire or drought buy firing off a couple cheap rockets, I think someone would already be doing it...
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:19 PM
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I appreciate everyone's responses here. Several decades of data on cloud seeding (from aircraft, rockets, and artillery shells) indicate that it does work, although the magnitude of the effect is difficult to ascertain.

Having had a father who was a fire chief (as well as an avid model rocketeer in his own right), I can understand why there are few (if any) examples of rain rockets being used to fight forest fires. With fire-fighting personnel on the ground, there would be two concerns: [1] The impact locations of the falling spent rocket hardware, and [2] the possibility that hot rocket motor parts might land in dry vegetation and trigger more fires.

The chemical payloads of the rockets and shells are not very massive (just 400 - 500 grams net mass). The shells are small AA (Anti-Aircraft) gun shells (not large howitzer shells), and the rockets are small 55 mm artillery rockets. Large Model Rockets (LMRs), Mid-Power Rockets (MPRs) and High-Power Rockets (HPRs) could carry such chemical payloads. These rockets would have the advantages of descending slowly and safely by parachute (as well as still falling relatively slowly and being frangible in the event of recovery system failures) and of not presenting a fire hazard on landing because their motors would be cool by then.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2009, 05:06 AM
jdbectec jdbectec is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Hello All,

Has anyone here ever experimented with seeding clouds to produce rain using model rockets? (Polish meteorological scientists have successfully done this using modified maritime lifeline-carrying rockets.) If so, and if it produced positive results, what type and amount(s) of cloud-seeding agent (silver iodide crystals or dry ice) did you use?

Where I am in Alaska, we are breathing dangerously contaminated air due to smoke particulates from nearby wildfires. If I could trigger some kind of (hopefully self-increasing feedback loop) reaction to create rain, it would clear our air of smoke and help extinguish the fires. I have several potential launch sites that are free of combustible materials and dry vegetation, so that cloud-seeding rockets would not create new fires by accident.

Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help.



I definately remember reading a letter in an old MRm about such an attempt. They used silver iodide. I can't tell you where to find it, unfortunately. IIRC it didn't give any real details. You might try searching the index on the ninfinger site, but it may be of little use to you.

FWIW, I think it's an idea that merits some research.

Best of luck to you.
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