mylar streamers replacing fins

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Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2009
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Has anyone ever considered putting mylar streamers on short (1-inch) dowels on the aft end of a motor mount tube and flown it? The logic is that the streamers would hang well past the end of the motor, and would create significant aerodynamic drag (like a drogue chute) that would keep the rocket flying in a straight line.

Would this work or am I just crazy? (Or both?)

You're probably just crazy.;)

But, I seem to recall reading several articles over the years of rockets being launched with long streamers made out of crepe paper for an interesting visual effect. Those rockets to my knowledge had normal fins for stability. How would you attach the dowels so they wouldn't break off? Thru-the-wall?

It might be an interesting "heads-up" experiment...
My idea was to use short dowels, maybe extending only an inch or so, of 3/8 inch hardwood, using TTW mounts. The streamers themselves would probably be about 12" long. MMT would be 18mm and BT would be BT-50 (24mm).

The inch separation from the outer BT should be enough to keep them out of the direct flame path, but close enough that any asymmetical resistance wouldn't cause the thing to go completely out of control.

Essentially, my idea came from watching the space shuttle with its drogue chute, but knowing that a chute directly behind a rocket would very quickly acquire an unintended spillhole.

This might work if the streamers don't shread, detach or get melted. Your stabilization surfaces will be the dowels themselves, either make them longer or increse their number or add some nose weight (one ounce). The attached RockSim 7 simulation for this design doesn't look too good; the first simulation without nose weight is unstable. The streamers should act as non-steering weights on the dowels.

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055