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EMRR Virtual Rocket Contest Ideas?

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PunkRocketScience

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Hey gang-

I have volunteered to administrate one of EMRR's virtual rocket contests sometime next year.

What theme/events would you like to see?

My first idea must have been a good one, as it is the same idea that Bill Krosney came up with that will be the next one starting early next year! Sorry, can't let the cat out of the bag on this one yet, but get your rocksim skills sharpened up, this one will be fun!
 

n3tjm

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Work on soliciting the vendors. My opinion, Last VRC had a weak prize lineup for such a challenging contest. Contests like DESCON and the recent Photo Contest seem to offer a much better selection of prizes.
 

wwattles

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For a virtual rocket (RocSim) contest, you could have a "Slowest/Lowest" contest. Rocket would have to be powered by a full G motor (or a full D if you want to keep it smaller), and the one that remains stable and flys the lowest or slowest wins. You may have to limit the launch rod length to 48", otherwise someone will put a 50' launch rod on there and claim that their bowling ball with a motor stuffed in it would win. :rolleyes:

WW
 

BobCox

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Work on soliciting the vendors. My opinion, Last VRC had a weak prize lineup for such a challenging contest. Contests like DESCON and the recent Photo Contest seem to offer a much better selection of prizes.
Nick at EMRR handles the prize solicitation for all of the contests that you mentioned. Nick has established good relations with the vendors, and I think it's better to let him keep doing it rather than having several people pestering the vendors for prizes.

I know first-hand how much work it is to run a virtual contests without having to solicit prizes as well.
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by wwattles
For a virtual rocket (RocSim) contest, you could have a "Slowest/Lowest" contest.
Low'n'Slow is a great event to put in the same contest with a High Altitude or High Speed event. Makes a good challenge to do well in both events just by changing engines and rod angles.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
What's up for the fifth day? Five ring fins?
 

DJ Delorie

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For low/slow - score based on seconds to apogee divided by altitude.

How about a sci-fi scale contest? You'd have to be able to document the original you're modelling, of course.

How about "pushing the envelope"? The model that makes the most people say "I didn't know rocksim could do that!" wins :)
 

teflonrocketry1

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How about a Mach-Buster contest!
1) First to reach Mach1.
2) Longest sustain speeds above Mach1.
3) Highest altitude achieved from a Mach breaking flight.
4) Shortest range to recovery.
5) Spot landing say 2500 feet from the launch guide.
6) Safest recovery from Mach one (lowest landing speed).
7) Last to reach Mach 1

To give those that only have the demo version of RockSim a chance, I would wave all the design issues and requrements. I also would not use any wind stability, thermals, motor failures, or out of range criteria, this would allow the designs to compete directly against one another with no random chance effects to change the results. Also use any nose shape, body diameter(s) or fin configuration(s) the software supports. Allow the motor selection to rule the designs. Of course there would have to be a beauty contest for the tie breaker. Those who submit from earlier versions of RockSim could submit a proper .jpg file of their design.

Make the rules simple and easy to understand! It would be nice to have a turnout in a virtual rocketry contest at a level similar to the rocket proverbs contest.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by RocketmanTM
Hey gang-

I have volunteered to administrate one of EMRR's virtual rocket contests sometime next year.

What theme/events would you like to see?

My first idea must have been a good one, as it is the same idea that Bill Krosney came up with that will be the next one starting early next year! Sorry, can't let the cat out of the bag on this one yet, but get your rocksim skills sharpened up, this one will be fun!
How about holding one that acknowledges that Rocksim is not the only program?
 

BobCox

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Mach-buster. Oooh, I like it, Bruce. That is a good list of events.

You and I already had the discussion about the random elements (thermals, wind, motor failure) and I agree that luck played too big a factor in the last contest (and a few before that).

I also agree with you that we should cut back or eliminate the "artificial" constraints (e.g each tube must be 2x the length of another, number of different diameters, number of fins, etc.)

I do think that there should be some limit on stability margin, though. As was pointed out in a recent Apogee newsletter, "calibers of margin" may not be the correct metric when the body tube varies in diameter, but there should be some sort of limit.

Even more, I think there should be some (fairly high) limit on landing speed. Maybe event 6 will take care of that and ensure that everybody puts in at least some sort of recovery device.

Now that that's out of the way.... I have a few question about your events:

A) What speed do you want to define as Mach 1?

B) Do you have a total impulse limit, or is it flyer's choice?

B) For events 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 it's clear that the flight must break Mach 1 to count. What about events 4 and 5? Do they need to break Mach 1 on those flights, or just be capable of Mach 1 on the other events? If they don't need to reach Mach 1 on those events, someone could just stick in a 1/4A engine, dribble off the end of the rod and win closest-landing-to-the-pad.

C) Event 1: how do you define "first to reach Mach 1"? Shortest time from ignition, or lowest altitude? Similar question for event 7.

D) Events 1, 2, and 7: These could be tricky for the judge. The other results like max speed, max altitude, apogee time, landing speed, and landing distance all show up as a single number in the post-flight report. Time to a certain speed and amount of time spent above speed would require carefully looking at the 2D sim results or the graph, and would be error-prone and time-consuming for the judge.

E) What do you want to use for wind to get rid of the luck factor? No wind at all? Calm (0-2 mph), with the lowest variability? Fixed wind speed defined for each event? Fixed wind speed for all competitors, but the speed is not revealed to the contestants?


I think you've got great idea here. I'd love to see it fleshed out and turned into a real contest.
 

Const Star

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i personally dont have rocksim or anything like it yet, so i cant compete. but i believe the person with the fastest time to reaching mach 1 using a specified motor only and using must needed material should win

or if u wann do something a little goofy

tallest rocket using just a g motor but most go over 300 feet before deploying
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by Const Star
i personally dont have rocksim or anything like it yet, so i cant compete.
You can always download the free demo version of RockSim from Apogee. The demo version does not allow you to save your files, but you can do your simulations with it and send in the parts list file as a contest entry.
 

n3tjm

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Or have an event where a rocket reaches mach with the lowest powered motor possible ;). Of course it has to be a certified motor. Using an 18mm E45 or F55 would do the trick; but alas... those motors have gone out of production before the time when I could afford them :(.

First to reach Mach, and the Last to Reach Mach... um... I would not have both in the same contest... that could knock the first place winner from first down because his "first to reach mach" would be on the bottom of the list for "last to reach mach."
 

SwingWing

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Lowest implse to reach mach 1. or an efficiency factor like total speed/total impulse.


While I agree that the luck factor should be eliminated, there still should be some challenge to build a virtual bird that performs well at different tasks, changing only motors. The best design should be the one that performs well in a varied and sometimes opposing set of tasks. otherwise it just becomes a lightest weight - biggest motor contest.
Killing the wind, thermals and ignition failures should take care of the luck factor. but you still need to build a recoverable rocket.
 

the freshman

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Hello, everybody. I came out of the blue in entering EMRR’s virtual rocket contest, and disappeared again once it was over. I didn’t know about TRF at the time.

I agree that the luck factor should be kept as low as possible. Keeping out misfires and thermals should take care of that. But I don’t know about keeping out wind. Winds at Calm (0-2 M.P.H.) and Light (3-7 M.P.H.) speeds with variability’s of “Fairly Constant Speed” or “Some Variability” keep the contest realistic without contributing much to the luck factor. That is of course, unless there is an event requiring a certain landing distance from the launch pad.

Also important is a large newbie bonus for first-time competitors. It’s an easy way to encourage new competitors. It was the reason I decided to join the last contest. I saw the newbie bonus and thought, “Hey, I might have half a chance.”

Dave Austerberry
 

r1dermon

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gawd, i love that mach contest idea. i think there should be different classes. like. starting from D and going on up. and you MUST use the motor which is specified, and only ONE motor is specified per class...like, a D24, and E30, and F52, and G80, and H180, I300...etc...leave the motor selection to the official, and base it on motors which have been PROVEN to break mach in the past.
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by r1dermon
gawd, i love that mach contest idea. i think there should be different classes.
This sounds good in theory, but in practice there are not enough contestants to have separate classes. Typical turnout is 10 to 17 entries. You can't really break a pool that small into 6 or more classes.

-- Bob Cox
-- Former Judge
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by the freshman
I agree that the luck factor should be kept as low as possible. Keeping out misfires and thermals should take care of that. But I don’t know about keeping out wind. Winds at Calm (0-2 M.P.H.) and Light (3-7 M.P.H.) speeds with variability’s of “Fairly Constant Speed” or “Some Variability” keep the contest realistic without contributing much to the luck factor.
--Dave Austerberry
Originally posted by swingwing
Killing the wind, thermals and ignition failures should take care of the luck factor. but you still need to build a recoverable rocket.
I agree with Dave and Swingwing.

Bruce, since you are the one who raised the objections, how do you feel about their comments?

-- Bob Cox
-- Former Judge
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by n3tjm
First to reach Mach, and the Last to Reach Mach... um... I would not have both in the same contest... that could knock the first place winner from first down because his "first to reach mach" would be on the bottom of the list for "last to reach mach."
Not necessarily. Each would be a separate event, and each would use a different set of engines. I could envision a multi-stage design that uses high-thrust short-duration boosters in the First to Mach event, but long-duration low-thrust boosters for the Last to Mach event. In both events, the upper stage is light-weight and uses a high-thrust engine to break Mach.
]Originally posted by swingwing
Lowest implse to reach mach 1. or an efficiency factor like total speed/total impulse.
This would be a good event to add to Bruce's list. Score for the event is ranked by total impulse. It provides a good challenge and it's fairly easy for the judge to evaluate.

-- Bob Cox
-- Former Judge
 

Const Star

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Originally posted by BobCox
You can always download the free demo version of RockSim from Apogee. The demo version does not allow you to save your files, but you can do your simulations with it and send in the parts list file as a contest entry.
already tried that, couldnt get the demo to work, that or i just didnt know what the hell i was doing. take ur pick
 

n3tjm

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Originally posted by BobCox
I could envision a multi-stage design that uses high-thrust short-duration boosters in the First to Mach event, but long-duration low-thrust boosters for the Last to Mach event.
How pratical would that be? There are not that many certified booster motors on the market today (B6,C6,C11, and D12's). Gone are the days of D20's, E60's, and F100's. Unless we allow electronic ignition of upper stage rockets (which weight is an issue for a mach rocket), I don't think this will be pratical.

I am also assuming that the total impulse is going to be set to no less than 120 n/s (or was it 160?)... My opinion... double that. 320 n/s. Reason - NAR rules: a model rocket can go up to 320 n/s as long as a single motor does not exceed 160 n/s for a non-certified individual. This means a person can stage a G80 to a G80 if they so desire.
 

PunkRocketScience

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Geez...I checked back for the first few days and was disappointed that no one had responded. It seems that a few people have found the thread now...

I like the Machbuster idea as well as the sci-fi scale idea. How would do you think an event that requires adding an extra stage to your base design would go over? For example, now that you've designed a single stage minimum diameter mach buster, let's add a stage (or two), change the motor configuration and fly low & slow with it...
 

PunkRocketScience

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Dynasoar-

Whereas I recognize that there are several very fine rocket design software packages on the market, Rocksim is simply the one that I have and that has been used for past contests. I don't own stock in Apogee or anything, so I'm not trying to push their software on people.

If you are interested in administrating a contest for EMRR based upon another system, I would contact Nick and volunteer to do so. It would be great if a demo version of the software that you wanted to use would be available as well, so that others could try it out and participate in the contest as well. I enjoy designing virtual rockets and would be interested in joining in on a contest that used other software as well.
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by n3tjm
How pratical would that be? There are not that many certified booster motors on the market today (B6,C6,C11, and D12's). Gone are the days of D20's, E60's, and F100's. Unless we allow electronic ignition of upper stage rockets (which weight is an issue for a mach rocket), I don't think this will be pratical.
The judge could decide to allow electronic ignition llike we did for Virtual Contest #5. For that one we used a 2 oz weight for the electronics, which was a small fraction of the weight of a football lofter. For this contest we could drop the weight to 1 oz, which is my wild guess for the weight of Robert DeHate's PicoAD dual altimeter.
I am also assuming that the total impulse is going to be set to no less than 120 n/s (or was it 160?)... My opinion... double that. 320 n/s. Reason - NAR rules: a model rocket can go up to 320 n/s as long as a single motor does not exceed 160 n/s for a non-certified individual. This means a person can stage a G80 to a G80 if they so desire.
Huge amounts of impulse are not required to break Mach (at least in RockSim). I have a design that reaches Mach 1.1 on a single D21. Somebody posted one in the EMRR RockSim library that gets to Mach 0.98 on 2 A's and a B.

Those designs prove that it is possible to break Mach with reasonably low impulse. However, they are so optimized for that one task that they won't have much flexibility to do well in some other events. Having multiple motors, either clustered or staged, allows for the best customization for each event.

For the last few contests we had a rule that said all motor mounts must be populated, and that the motors must be the same size as the mount. Somebody complained about that rule. We could change the rules to allow empty mounts for some events. Imagine a staged cluster of 1x29mm, 3x24mm, 3x18mm, and 6x13mm. That would allow a huge range of possible impulse if you could leave mounts some empty on some events.

-- Bob Cox
-- Former Judge
 

n3tjm

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Originally posted by BobCox
For the last few contests we had a rule that said all motor mounts must be populated, and that the motors must be the same size as the mount. Somebody complained about that rule. We could change the rules to allow empty mounts for some events. Imagine a staged cluster of 1x29mm, 3x24mm, 3x18mm, and 6x13mm. That would allow a huge range of possible impulse if you could leave mounts some empty on some events.
Yep, that was one of the things I mentioned to you ;). The only down side of clustering is the added drag. I love a challenge ;).
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by RocketmanTM
Dynasoar-

Whereas I recognize that there are several very fine rocket design software packages on the market, Rocksim is simply the one that I have and that has been used for past contests. I don't own stock in Apogee or anything, so I'm not trying to push their software on people.

If you are interested in administrating a contest for EMRR based upon another system, I would contact Nick and volunteer to do so. It would be great if a demo version of the software that you wanted to use would be available as well, so that others could try it out and participate in the contest as well. I enjoy designing virtual rockets and would be interested in joining in on a contest that used other software as well.
I'm not meaning to pick on you. You've just volunteered to administer the contest.

The only major thing that would need to be changed is the rules*. It specifies Rocksim, and allows the demo version. Using the demo version means no .rkt file; submission details have to be done by hand. The same *can* be done with any sim program. There's no reason to have a separate contest. In fact I think there's more reason to have only one contest allowing both explicitly.

SpaceCAD is available with a 30 day free trial license. Anyone can get/use it. Unlike Rocksim, the trial version is fully functional. The judge could get it for the trial period and handle any .roc files sent in. Learning to design with one versus the other is difficult. Learning to import and read the resulting files is quite easy no matter which you're familiar with. And if you're going to allow non-file submissions, it shouldn't matter where that comes from.

I think there should be one contest, and one judge.

* The "standard weights" might need eased a bit. I'm not even sure where those come from, for either program. Not knowing, I wouldn't trust the databases as the authority. I'd suggest any commonly available weight from a known vendor with a reference to that vendor's catalog entry.

Like I said, I don't mean to pick on you. I'll go pick on Nick instead.
 

PunkRocketScience

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Dyna-

No offense taken. I agree with your rationale. It shouldn't matter in which software the original design is done, as long as it can be brought into rocksim for the competition. I have no problem with that.
 

DynaSoar

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Originally posted by RocketmanTM
Dyna-

No offense taken. I agree with your rationale. It shouldn't matter in which software the original design is done, as long as it can be brought into rocksim for the competition. I have no problem with that.
Consider Nick picked on. It's his rules to change or not.

If you should choose to allow the change for the contest you're administering (I assume he'll give you the choice to allow the change after you've taken on the task, or choose not to and he can change next contest), I'll volunteer to make sure any SpaceCAD entries (a) work and (b) are properly exported/rewritten (given a few examples taken from Rocksim to work from).

=====

As far as a Mach-related contest, first to reach it is going to run into the chance calculations of the time slices. A good design will hit it between 0.5 and 1 second after liftoff. I can see getting a lot of ties if the slices are 0.1 seconds.

Perhaps a better goal would be to spend the greatest amount of flight time Mach+? Reach it quickly, go as far past it as possible, and decelerate the slowest. Design and choice of motor would interact more. It'd give you more time slices to work with.
 

PunkRocketScience

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Hey Dynasoar-

That would be very cool of you. I greatly appreciate the offer. I'll toss up the idea to Nick as soon as I have the idea that I want to use hammered out and detailled.
 

BobCox

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Originally posted by DynaSoar
As far as a Mach-related contest, first to reach it is going to run into the chance calculations of the time slices. A good design will hit it between 0.5 and 1 second after liftoff. I can see getting a lot of ties if the slices are 0.1 seconds.

Perhaps a better goal would be to spend the greatest amount of flight time Mach+? Reach it quickly, go as far past it as possible, and decelerate the slowest. Design and choice of motor would interact more. It'd give you more time slices to work with.
As I mentioned earlier, time to Mach and time above Mach are not standard values spit out in the flight summary, so they would require the judge to single-step through the flight simulation in 2D display mode looking for the transition.

Resolution of the time slice should not be a problem. The default step time is 800 steps/sec, and it easily changes to 2000 steps/sec.
 
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