News from Deepsky HQ

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Aug 20, 2003
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Some October days are windy. Some days are rainy. Some days, the clouds bang into the tree tops. But not every day! Even some weekend days can be passable flying days in the autumn, with a bit of luck! I've managed to do a dozen or so experimental flights at the Deepsky Proving Ground in the last week. If you want to fly, there is a way! The summer was definitely better for spray painting outside, though! Now's the time to perfect your Solarfilm technique ;-)

It's easier to sneak in modest launches this month. We are still awaiting clear skies and calm breezes for the launch of our first RATT L/M in Helen Green's Flat Earth Orbiter, though. That one needs a 5000 foot ceiling. Other Deepsky friends are waiting to get their Level 1 and 2 flights in, maybe this weekend at Black Knights? The Cranfield University Rocket Boyz are also hoping to get the Deepsky-supplied Hypertek M in a LOC/Precision Big Nuke 3E with a Rocket Cam into the sky 'ere long!

New kits:

The official word is that the new Estes models including X-Prize ones are due the first week in November. Not long now, eh? There is a lot of interest in the new Oracle video rocket and, to no one's surprise, the Space Ship One kit. Not a whisper of enthusiasm for the other X-Prize kits, though. I suspect they might become collector's items... hopefully some interest in the Thunderstar (Starchaser) kit will emerge. We should support the home team!

We have been flying one of the Edmond's Aerospace boost gliders, the Deltie B, slightly modified for competition (smaller motor tube), and have been amazed at how easy it was to assemble (10 minutes) and trim (three minutes) albeit that was in the hands of a junior British Space Modelling Team glider record holder. But she's a girl...

The Deltie must be the slickest boost glider going... and has withstood the punishment of multiple launches without a whimper. It really flies a treat! With a tiddler A motor we got >30 seconds flights... but there is lots more to come with a bit of tuning. Even the new British World Champion Mike Francies is tickled by the Deltie's potential...

Bored with Estes? We are becoming the UK distributor for Custom Rocketry kits. A few of their cool kits are already on the site including a nifty egg lofter. More will follow. Custom's designer has been inspired by the Centuri kits of old but the entire Custom stable is completely updated to build fast and fly high with today's methods and motors.

Also joining us in the next few weeks are some great kits from Squirrel Works. Good performance, spot-on quality and bargain prices. Check them out. Right now we just have the Red Baron on the site but more will be along shortly.

Custom, Squirrel Works and Fliskits are all Deepsky exclusives now and will be part of our distribution strategy... they may even turn up in a hobby shop near you soon!

We are also ramping up our schools and clubs service with the likes of the Rhino Herd. Buying ten is cheaper! The Rhino is a great beginner's rocket and it's BIG!

Speaking of big, the new Semroc SLS upscaled retro rockets are great kits... just like the little ones... only bigger! For rocketeers that like D and E power action, there is probably no better performance value to be had. Quality components and clear instructions make them a delight to build. My first choice was the Jaguar but the others are equally cool. And they go high, too!

AP Motors:

A report was due on the 8th from our Notified Body about the further documentary requirements for CE marking. They had a few perfunctory questions which were dealt with immediately. We expect the full report soon with the timing for the rest of the Eurocratic paper shuffling exercise. Approval before Christmas? We are doing all we can!

Hybrid Motors:

Deepsky is making progress on its Hybrid Launch Services. We are building a trailer with two rails equipped with Hypertek and standard launch gear and carrying GOX and N2O bottles. It may get a test flight or two before Christmas but it will be a constant companion on Deepsky expeditions next spring/summer.

Rocket Electronics:

Perfectflite have yet to emerge from their summer break and house move. Their long silence means a customer with a problem isn't likely to get much satisfaction. We can't have that. I have taken on two new flight controller brands that are winging their way to us now to join the G-Wiz altimeters and R-DAS instrumentation.

Check the site for the PicoAlt LO3 for the fly-weight end of the market. Want to know how high your 18mm C powered rocket went? Pico knows! Soon we will have their dual event altimeter that is smaller than 1.5 x .5 inches. A true lightweight in everything but quality and features!

The ATHA FC-877 will slot in ABOVE the R-DAS in our range of full featured deployment solutions. A total ATHA package including the controller, the AGTS GPS/telemetry module and ground station will, however, come in well BELOW the R-DAS price point and offer features yet unavailable from AED.

What we love most about the FC-877 and AGTS is you can programme them in the rocket, with a PC or with a PalmOS device... Paul uses his Treo600 smart phone for data logging, graphing and controller configuration!

HPR bits:

We are awaiting our first order of SkyAngle chutes. These are literally made to order and the order cycle has stretched to eight weeks. If you need something special, let me know ASAP.

We have taken on a little device at the recommendation of our friend Colin Rowe of Rowes Retainers. The Defy Gravity Tether can convert a single deployment HPR rocket into dual deployment... in minutes! Easy peasy and reliable sez Colin. We bundle the Tether with a Nomex deployment bag suitable for a three or four inch rocket to add some extra value.

Avionics bays are back in stock including the ultimate SlimLine avionics bay. With £££ in computers in your L2 vehicle, can you afford to have anything but the best? Most Rowe Retainers are back in stock, too.

On the road:

We are looking forward to the Black Knights launch at Tamworth this weekend and are sponsoring the British Space Modelling team trials there. If you want to see just how fast an Estes A can shift a rocket, come along! We hope to fly our 7 x E9 LOC/Precision Stovi there, too. We like rockets with ye olde pillar of flame. The Stovi is a way to get to HPR power levels without an explosives license. Do the maths: 7 x 35Ns...

Beyond this weekend our launch plans are a bit sketchy. Sadly we will miss EARS in early December, though we really want to make the November one. We also want to get up to the Wirral soon and visit some other friends in the south, too. So many rockets, so little time ;-(

We want to correct a bit of mischief put about by one of our colleagues. Deepsky is an on-line rocket shop first and foremost. The only business problem we have is coping with the company doubling in size inside six months! Nearly 2000 rockets sold!

We attend rocket launches more to meet friends and ogle the magnificent missiles than from a need to flog rockets. We also attend certain launches because some of the goods we carry cannot be economically shipped. Our goal is to be the best 24 x 7 rocket shop in Europe on the web (and at your doorstep days later). We view our launch attendance as an extension of our primary mail order service to our customers here in the UK, but we must also take care of our friends in Europe and the States.

Rocketing around the countryside is great fun but it does get in the way of Mission Objective Number One sometimes... and it sure has got in the way of OUR building schedule!!! We now have a Level 1 and two Level 3 rockets on the go in our workshop and they are crying out for attention! Not to mention to occasional whimper from the Afterburner corner...

Christmas is coming and our order book, email and web traffic are swelling again so we may not be at as many launches as we would like. If you need something in a hurry, let us know and we will pull out the stops to make sure you get it before your next launch.

Recent legislation has caused us to review our drop-in visitors policy. We cannot provide the accessibility levels now mandated so our "shop" premises is now officially a warehouse. You are still welcome to come by and collect your rockets or have a chat and a cuppa in the conservatory but we can't open the "shop" to retail traffic. Sorry.

That's all for now. More news when it happens!

But before we sign off, here's a preview of things ahead: Paul's taken the reins in hand and is working on an overhaul of the web site to make it easier to use and more like home to the 1000s of visitors that come to our shop each month. Look for an annotated events calendar, a customer picture gallery, more technical tips, more technical info in the product listings, etc.

Credit card integration, our long wished-for feature, is finally on the, uh, cards! Until then, please call or fax us with your plastic digits or use your cards through Paypal or Nochex on the site. Cheques by post still work too!

Fly high!

The Deepsky Team