# Thread: Quick question re: hobbyist altitude achievments

1. New Member
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18th July 2012
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## Quick question re: hobbyist altitude achievments

Hey all,

I'm new to this community and was curious to ask something without doing the math myself to even get a sense for how reasonable the question is :P.

Has any hobbyist group (perhaps even a very large and established group) ever managed to launch a rocket and/or its payload into low earth orbit? or more impressively has any group managed to have a rocket escape earth orbit?

The most impressive height I've seen recently was a video from a European group (teaming of a school in Germany and Sweden I believe?) that launched the Rexus 9 rocket to ~80km.

Cheers!

2. Not that I have ever read.

3. New Member
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Rats .

4. The Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT) launched a rocket to 72 miles (about 116 km):

http://www.stratofox.org/pics/csxt-spaceshot-2004/

It took them years to accomplish. Reaching orbit would be much more difficult.

-- Roger
Last edited by jadebox; 18th July 2012 at 03:31 PM.

5. The highest that amateurs have gone is up a little past the (somewhat arbitrary) threshold where the atmosphere ends and space begins, which is 100 km. Getting to orbit is an order of magnitude more difficult than that.

6. There are a few requirements to achieve LEO:

1. Velocity at burnout needs to be ~17,500 mph
2. Guidance & Control: To get the correct vector to insert into an orbital corridor
3. Technical acumen: There's a whole lot of physics going on out there
4. Permission from whichever government agencies that have an interest
5. A boatload of money to make it all happen
6. Another boatload of money when any of the above doesn't happen

It's the polar opposite of "easy peasy".

Greg

7. Originally Posted by GregGleason
It's the polar opposite of "easy peasy".
That's true. But, determining the more simple things like what motors to use in what combination of stages and clusters can be a fun exercise. Even if you're not serious about launching such a rocket, you can design it and, perhaps, even simulate its flight.

There was a semi-serious discussion a while back among a group of rocket flyers about what it would take to build a rocket, based on our hobby rockets, which could put something in orbit. As the discussion continued, the topic got more and more complicated of course. But, it was interesting.

-- Roger

8. I started to do that for fun a few months ago, just looking at the rocket equation and published motor specs. I quickly found that even staging the heck out of the most efficient commercial motors available, and ignoring drag and gravity, you can't get to orbital velocity with anything reasonable.

9. The amateur altitude record belongs to Ky Michaelson and the Civuilian Space eXploration Team launching the GoFast rocket on May 17, 2004 from Black Rcok Desert to an altitude of 72 miles (116 km). This launch effort cost more than \$500,000 to complete.

The second highest amateur flight was to 50 miles (80 lm) by a team from the Reaction Research Society and launched from Black Rock Des3ert in November 1998 using a boosted dart.

It is virtually impossible for an amateur group to put something to orbit. Mach 5 suborbital flights to 100 km+ are challenging, but Mach 25 orbital flights and recovery are pro only territory. Orbital flights require 25 time more energy, and experience 125x more heating than suborbital launches and are beyond the capabilities of amateurs. Not to mention cost millions of dollars...

Bob

10. Fact - Jay Apt put an Estes rocket into low earth orbit.

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Originally Posted by Bazookadale
Fact - Jay Apt put an Estes rocket into low earth orbit.
Yeah, but he cheated!

12. Originally Posted by NAR29996
Yeah, but he cheated!
He passed the astronaut exam fair and square!

13. What about the Ou"R" Project in Black Rock Desert?

14. New Member
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Originally Posted by NAR29996
Yeah, but he cheated!
How did he cheat? I am a noob to rocketry...

15. Dark Star Fanatic
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He was an astronaut and he took it aboard the space shuttle....

16. Originally Posted by capngloval
How did he cheat? I am a noob to rocketry...
Originally Posted by Yoehahn
He was an astronaut and he took it aboard the space shuttle....
That is only cheating if you try it at an NAR or TRA launch because neither organization has certified the shuttles motors! He had all the necessary paperwork for his launch.

17. Ok, so how is the best way to split hairs?

I have tried in so many ways, but have yet to find the best way ...

I would guess it would be an attorney, but that opens up something way more complicated (and costly)

18. Originally Posted by Yoehahn
He was an astronaut and he took it aboard the space shuttle....
Yeah, hobby rocket motors don't cut it for space launches. Everything I've sent into space went up on the Shuttle, Pegasus XL or a Delta II...

Bob

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