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Aerotech's Million Dollar - Million Foot Challenge

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JMX

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Ok. Does anyone know anything about this and any more of the contest details?

To make a long story short I'm kicking back at a local watering hole that has social distancing and is open, it's a desert hole in the wall bar that has its fair share of pilots, military guys/girls and lots of amateur rocket enthusiasts and a L3 guy was talking about it.

Supposedly, Aerotech is gonna announce a standing contest with no expiration until someone wins called "million dollar million foot challenge" for the first person (not a team, no teams allowed only individuals) to make a million feet AGL and do it solely on commercial Aerotech motors. I simply listened to him talking about and didn't ask any questions because I don't know the guy that well and I didn't want to interrupt the conversation he was having because he was trying to pick up this fly girl hottie.

I was on my way out anyways and when I passed him by I simply said something along the lines of.

"Can't be done but that's great marketing... Aerotech will make ten million bucks off people buying their motors trying to hit a million feet!"

To which he replied.

"No. It's possible. With staging it's possible." And then he went back to talking to the girl he was trying to pick up. So what's the deal with this contest guys? From how he was talking sounds like they are gonna announce end of summer.

Does anyone know all the rules for this or when they will announce? There are some industry insiders on these boards and somebody must know something.

What's the dealio?
 
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GalantVR41062

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Interesting thought experiment. I will join the camp of not possible for a single person on a single flight, I would even go one step more and say no matter what the motor combination.

Enter the possible, cumulative flights, sure that's possible. I did a rocket design in OR for the highest possible flight on a single commercial rocket motor. 4" MD 98mm bird on the Aerotech 0 5280x single use motor, simulated altitude 104,000'.

~John
 
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JMX

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I don’t think it’s possible.

But that’s why I was wondering about the details on the contest.

If a boosted dart is allowed then a three stage to a boosted dart might get you there but a dart simply coasts and doesn’t have a motor so that might not be allowed.

If a boosted dart is allowed it might be possible.
 
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Rocket501

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This sounds like an urban legend to me. I sincerely doubt that Aerotech would do such a thing. It's a fun thought experiment, but I don't think it is anything more.
 
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JMX

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You might be right. But if you are right, that totally sucks. They make so much money off all of us the least they can do is a give us another carrot to chase after. Right?

So this L3 guy was simply telling a tale?

I dunno. Maybe come August they will announce something. Which would be cool.
 

Alan15578

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It would be interesting to do a number of designs and then plot a composite motor cost per foot vs, altitude. Things migth take an odd turn after you leave the drag and stability of the atmosphere.
 
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J Blatz

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I can’t speak to the veracity of this contest, but I would like to chime in on the idea that AeroTech makes “so much money” off of us ticket hobbyists.

It’s simply not true. It’s easy to think that when you drop hundreds or thousands a year on motors but that does NOT translate into huge profits for AT or CTI or ( insert manufacturer here ). Hobby rocketry is a small scene, HPR is smaller yet. Making motors is expensive and no I’m not talking about the chemicals and other components so much as facility, staff, regulatory stuff, testing requirements, etc.

Myself I’m glad there’s as many manufacturers as there are and I hope that all involved can make a decent profit making cool stuff for us.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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This story was an exaggeration for the purposes of picking up a girl in a bar. I wonder if it worked?
 

Steve Shannon

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You might be right. But if you are right, that totally sucks. They make so much money off all of us the least they can do is a give us another carrot to chase after. Right?

So this L3 guy was simply telling a tale?

I dunno. Maybe come August they will announce something. Which would be cool.
I’m not sure where you get the idea they make so much money off us. Many of the dealers are hurting right now because of lack of sales. Aerotech, CTI, and Loki are feeling it too.
Besides, whoever picked up a hot girl by talking rockets?
 

AeroTech

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Sorry to burst the rumor, but it's not true.

"They make so much money off all of us the least they can do is a give us another carrot to chase after. Right?"

Really? Ask the dealers how well they're doing now.

"You can make a small fortune in the ________ industry, you just have to start with a large one" applies to rocketry along with many other businesses.

On the other hand, we certainly appreciate the support we've received from our customers during these tough times. Looking forward to a better 2021!
 

tfish

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ThirstyBarbarian

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Almost exactly one year ago on July 20, 2019, I went to a special “moonwalk” anniversary launch hosted by one of my clubs. There were a lot of activities featuring Saturn V rockets. And there was this one guy, a college student, who had built an Estes Saturn V, and he was accompanied by at least a DOZEN college girls. No other guys, just him and the girls.

Apparently they were all “NASA interns” who were working on a cansat project together, and this guy had decided to build this rocket and invited them all to come with him to fly it, and this plan actually WORKED! What a scam!

It was so funny watching this guy walking around, carrying his Estes Saturn V, followed by this troop of women! Lol! It was like some kind of fantasy sequence from the Big Bang Theory!

Good job, rocket nerd! Livin’ the dream!
 

JMX

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Sorry to burst the rumor, but it's not true.

"They make so much money off all of us the least they can do is a give us another carrot to chase after. Right?"

Really? Ask the dealers how well they're doing now.

"You can make a small fortune in the ________ industry, you just have to start with a large one" applies to rocketry along with many other businesses.

On the other hand, we certainly appreciate the support we've received from our customers during these tough times. Looking forward to a better 2021!
I didn’t know the margins in motor manufacture and sales were so tight.

When I heard the L3 guy bragging to the girl about how he was gonna win a million bucks and go a million feet after Aerotech announces it sounded real to me because I do know other contests exist.

Heck, you could go a million feet and get a million bucks from the billionaire backers of FAR for their dollar per foot challenge but that’s liquid rockets and a whole different animal.

When I heard this L3 guy spinning his fish tale to the pretty girl at the bar I was like wow, another contest like the DPF - dollar per foot challenge FAR is putting on.

Crazy bars. I need to spend more time building rockets instead of drinking with the Edwards AFB rif-raf!
 

richP

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For us Imperial Standard folks that's just over 186 miles! Last time I checked don't AP motors require oxygen to burn? 😆
Not unless he was hoping to get to Mach 14 and just coast the rest of the way.
 
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Mike Haberer

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Interesting, but I'm not convinced it proves the point. It wasn't a perfect vacuum, meaning there is still oxygen in the chamber. It will burn what oxygen is there until the O2 is exhausted. The experiment either needs to be run at a near vacuum or you build an engine stand to burn multiple engines in sequence, ala a multi-stage rocket (or bigger engines, like one or more E's). My bet is at some point an engine won't burn because the O2 is exhausted. It would also be interesting to see an E engine CATO in the chamber (LOL)...
 

Peartree

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Interesting, but I'm not convinced it proves the point. It wasn't a perfect vacuum, meaning there is still oxygen in the chamber. It will burn what oxygen is there until the O2 is exhausted. The experiment either needs to be run at a near vacuum or you build an engine stand to burn multiple engines in sequence, ala a multi-stage rocket (or bigger engines, like one or more E's). My bet is at some point an engine won't burn because the O2 is exhausted. It would also be interesting to see an E engine CATO in the chamber (LOL)...
No, the Oxygen needed for the reaction is in the solid chemicals and is freed for combustion/deflagration once the reaction starts. Remember that although rocket motors "burn" it isn't the kind of fire that you have at your cookout. It's much more of a chemical reaction and all the chemicals needed for the reaction are built in. If I'm not mistaken, several of the new generation orbital and suborbital vehicles use solid rocket motors for their abort systems even when that abort may come at altitudes where there isn't significant atmospheric oxygen.
 

lakeroadster

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Interesting, but I'm not convinced it proves the point. It wasn't a perfect vacuum, meaning there is still oxygen in the chamber. It will burn what oxygen is there until the O2 is exhausted. The experiment either needs to be run at a near vacuum or you build an engine stand to burn multiple engines in sequence, ala a multi-stage rocket (or bigger engines, like one or more E's). My bet is at some point an engine won't burn because the O2 is exhausted. It would also be interesting to see an E engine CATO in the chamber (LOL)...
I agree with testing actual staging in a vacuum. Since the black powder has oxidizer in it the trick is getting the burn started. And since upper stages of a typical multi stage rocket aren't ignited electrically (it's hot gases and chunks of hot propellant from the previous stage that fires the next motor) would they ignite in a vacuum without O2?

I'm guessing they would.
 
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