How Hard Can It Be?

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gpoehlein

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I was just flipping through the channels and stumbled over a show on National Geographic called "How Hard Can It Be?" - they are building a homemade high powered hybrid rocket. The episode will be rerun at 11PM Central tonight (Sunday night) for those who might want to see it and didn't know it was on.
 

Aksrockets

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Hopefully, they know what they're doing, unlike SOME Shows.
 

Wayco

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Thanks for the heads-up. Maybe this will redeem NGC after I wasted so much time watching that redneck show. Most of that junk got deleted, but I did spend too much time watching the moonshine rocket......
 

JStarStar

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Hopefully, they know what they're doing, unlike SOME Shows.

Don't bet on it.

More and more the pseudo-science channels are recycling and recycling and recycling the same 10 minutes of footage on show after show after show.

It's a real good bet the footage comes from one of their other idiots-blowing-up-junk shows.
 

gpoehlein

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Actually, it wasn't too bad. The group had originally set a goal of shooting a rocket into "space". After their first trial (and failure), they sought out the help of an expert who showed them how to pour their own rubber fuel grains (they ended up using a rubber/nitrous oxide hybrid motor. They also modified their goal to a reasonable 50,000 foot altitude with onboard video and GPS telemetry. They were only partly successful (their telemetry said they hit their altitude goal but the video was destroyed when the rocket came in ballistic (no deploy). But they acknowledged that they were not totally successful and there were no "hyuk - the rocket crashed - ain't that a hoot" moments. So I would say I found it uninsulting.
 

Pantherjon

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Yeah, wasn't too bad..None of the 'hey look what I did..I fired a rocket and it crashed! Ain't that great!' type crud..

Makes me wonder tho..IIRC a few months back someone posted asking questions about making their own BIG motor(8", which fits into the show), also about high altitude ejection charges,and wasn't that poster pretty much given the cold shoulder? You think it could have been these guys? Just some out loud musing...
 

troj

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If I remember right, the guy who helped them is Jeff Jakobson, who has a lot of experience with big hybrids.

Just saw him fly an R hybrid...up was successful. Down was a bit....fast.
 

brianc

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I also saw "he who shall not be named" (or at least the company name) in
the end credits.

I agree- this was much better than the Redneck show. I thought I'd have
a bias because of my interest in hybrids, but even without that it was a
good piece of rocketry and might cause an uptick in interest for the hobby.
 

georgegassaway

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I'm copying some comments here that I posted in the RC Rednecks thread:

Sunday night, with little to ZERO publicity, NatGeo premiered two episodes of “How Hard Can It Be?”. First one was lifting a house with hundreds/thousands of helium balloons, like in the animated movie “UP!”. And the second one was about making homemade rockets, with a goal of bulding a hybrid rocekt to fly to “space” (quickly revised to a goal of 50,000 feet).

That show is the OPPOSITE of Rocket City Rednecks (Safety first...., not thurrrd). Those guys know what they are doing, actually getting expert advice and help when suitable, and the show focuses more on the guys getting the project accomplished than stupid personal “reality TV” crap.

Oh yeah, these are projects that can’t just be thrashed together in 2 days like the Rednecks, these took weeks.

Wow, they actually ground tested their electronics. And the ejection didn’t go off by accident.

Those two episodes will be repeated next Sunday afternoon (the 9th), at 4PM and 5 PM Eastern.

Also, this Wednesday night, at 8 Eastern, there will be another episode, titled “DIY Robo-Sub”. They will try to build a robot submarine to survive at 12,000 feet underwater.

Unfortunately, it looks like there are only these three episodes. So enjoy them while they last.

- George Gassaway
 

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edwinshap1

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Yeah Jeff Jakob and i think i saw Rick Machek (hopefully i didn't butcher his last name) from FAR.

they're the only Ex club in california, and they're not too far from edwards AFB IIRC.

i'm just confused that if they were mixing propellant anyway, why Jeff didn't help them just mix some APCP, would've made for a better propellant :D

I think the show was pretty well made. They actually showed testing and preparation, much of which was right down to the wire, just like in real life :D

i wish these guys would get a bigger shot than rocket city rednecks..
 

mikec

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Yeah Jeff Jakob and i think i saw Rick Machek (hopefully i didn't butcher his last name) from FAR.
It's Maschek, so you only missed one letter.

i'm just confused that if they were mixing propellant anyway, why Jeff didn't help them just mix some APCP, would've made for a better propellant :D
He's a hybrid guy so he likes to use HTPB without the AP. ;)
 

Pantherjon

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i'm just confused that if they were mixing propellant anyway, why Jeff didn't help them just mix some APCP, would've made for a better propellant :D
Cause they were in California, and AP would have brought a whole lot more complications to the 'mission'.:no:I thought the same thing when they started talking hybrid..

Thinking back on the show there is ONE instance of 'DUH' that they did..When they tried igniting the 'cluster'. As they were putting the rocket on the launch pad you could see the ignitor wires coming out of the nozzles, yet they FILLED a flash pan with BP to try and light them? And I think they were single use AP motors to boot! Any wonder the rocket turned into a crispy critter?:rolleyes: But, really, that was the ONLY real flub I saw them make...
 

edwinshap1

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actually, the whole reason FAR exists is because of all the increased crap we have to go through in CA. cept for last year at LDRS, pretty much if you're on the launch site you have to be in a bunker...

the hybrid was purdy looking though, 8" of rubber :D
 

Wayco

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Just finished watching this show and was really impressed with the way they went about the job. (except the BP barbeque) Then I did a little research on what "space" is defined as and found a reference to the "karman" line. 100 km is quite a target for a rocket. I think they figured out early on that it wasn't realistic to shoot for that, and set a more realistic goal. Too bad the recording altimeter didn't survive, it would have been interesting to see what that rocket made it up to.
Any guesses as to what they spent building that monster?
 

vinmarshall

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Hi - I'm the host of How Hard Can It Be - just came across this thread while searching for reactions to it.

These comments are great. I'm really glad to see that some people appreciated what we were up to in making a engineering challenge style show that wasn't just cheap gags and fluff.

If this is the kind of programming that you'd like to see on Nat Geo, please email [email protected] and tell them. We'd really like to get picked up for a full season and we already have a raft of new ideas to try.

I'm not sure about the dates and times listed below for rebroadcasts - they may be correct - but these are the ones I know for sure:

Up House - Wed October 12 at 7pm ET/PT
Homemade Rocket - Wed October 19 at 7pm ET/PT
DIY Robo-Sub - Wed October 26 at 7pm ET/PT

And yes, we knew going into it that a dish of black powder wasn't going to work, but we were out of ignitors and saw no reason to let a chance to burn some black powder go to waste.

Vin Marshall
twitter: @temotorworks
 

Wayne's World

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I just Tivoed the three episodes to watch later. This has my interest.

BTW, the Russians have been launching Competition cluster rockets for a while now, with their Spider Cluster Igniters. Maybe a tube into the motor would have worked.
 

High Desert Rocketry

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It's Maschek, so you only missed one letter.



He's a hybrid guy so he likes to use HTPB without the AP. ;)
Actually, I've made lots of different solids propellants (APCP, sugar, BP, ZnS, etc) and do liquids (with nitrous or LOX).

Alex Pavlik this Sunday at BALLS did the version 2 of the 8" hybrid seen in the Nat Geo video
1632750685184.png
 

FredA

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And how did that flight go at Balls now that you teased us????
 

jsdemar

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And how did that flight go at Balls now that you teased us????
I wasn't there, but was on the phone live when the R hybrid flew. Good to about 18Kft and M2.5 then shredded something and took a turn.
 
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