Quantcast

October Sky Movie

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
I was just watching (yea, JUST WATCHING. I know its midnight, but I cant sleep very well these days... I ate something funny and it must have had dairy products in it, and my stomache isnt settled... Im lactose intolerant, so that makes for... Well... You get the idea. :eek: ) October Sky for like the billionth time, and I was pausing right in the middle of the big sequence of CATOs, and some of them it was quite obvious how they shot the failure, others not quite so... So I think this might be an interesting discussion topic...

First off... This has nothing to do with the CATO sequence, but it comes earlier in the movie, so I might as well have it first:

When they are building Auk 1 in the basement, they show them SODDERING the fins on... They might not have actually done this (its been a while since I read the book), but, with the metal tube, soddering fins on wouldent be very smart IMHO. There is not motor mount, and no paper lining, they just shoved the propellant in there with a big stick, in the movie at least. That would make the tube EXTREMELY hot. Im not too familar with soddering, but if the sodder melts on contact with the soddering iron... A metal tube with a $(#& load of rocket candy in it would get quite hot, wouldent it? You would think the fins would, in a manner of speaking, just melt away! If the propellant is hot enough to melt the washer they used for a nozzel, its certainly hot enough to melt the sodder holding the fins on, right? Either Homer Hickam didnt think his fin-attatchment methods through as thouroughly as we do now, or the movie makers screwed up big time...

Your thoughts? (yea, I can guess some of your thoughts... "Why the heck is this kid watching October Sky at midnight, and nit-picking Homer Hickam's early fin attatchment methods!?!?!" ;) )

And now onto things having to do only with how the movie was shot:

#1. On the first or second launch mishap, a rocket goes land-sharking all over the place, flipping over about a dozen times.

Theres obviously a central motor similar to White Lighting, though it resembles the picture of the old Kosdon version that Ryan showed me one time... (im talking about the motors they used to film this, of course). But, while I was viewing it in slow-motion (gotta love this new VCR/DVD player... :D), theres a second motor, with absolutely no flame at all... And very little smoke... An old AT E27, maybe? It was certainly small... Only the little smoke there was was coming out nearly perpindicular to the airframe, somewhere near the middle of the fin can section. It didnt look canted at all... Could they have stuck a motor straight into the tube at a 90 degree angle to the main motor? the reason I thought "E27" is, the motor would have to be small, with very little flame, but have enough power to cause the rocket to flip over and over and over. My guess is they were trying to make it look like the case had split, and it was thrusting out of two openings, nozzel and the crack, very similar to Craig Whittacres fatefull G75 flight last CMASS launch... :eek: He blew a hole in the side of the case, and the motor went MAD... A very different result than the movie version... It just made a few abrupt changes in direction, but never flipped... The movie version was going haywire, flipping over at least a dozen times..

Anyway, that was a very cool bit of filmmaking, however they did it! Kudos to whover made the film, they were pretty smart!

#2.

A few seconds after #1, a rocket pretty much chases them into a ditch and explodes... Is rocket-candy impact-sensitive like BP, so they could just shoot the rocket off a rail into the side of the hill, using trick photography as not to injure the actors, or did they use plastic explosives like in the LOTR FOTH Cave Troll sequence, where Legolas dodges the chain? (see LOTR special edition :D) Again, a pretty cool bit of filming... But, I think they DID use seperate explosives seperate from the rocket... While I was watching it in slow-motion, I paused it right as the rocket hit... You can see the nose of the rocket maybe 4" into a huge fireball, the rest of the rocket is outside, without a scratch. If it were to explode on impact, wouldent the rocket be in the center of teh fireball? Tsk tsk tsk... Methinks they shot the rocket at a pile of things that go boom either at the press of a button, or when the rocket hits it. Its definetly NOT the body of the rocket that explodes, and if it were to explode, it would definetly be the body of teh rocket....

#3

In the final scene, where they shoot off the last rocket, they show the rocket lift off... (I thought "L850" for some reason... :D) Then they cut to a different camera, showing the rocket going off into the sky... But it almost sounds as if another rocket motor ignited, though I am not sure if it was an airstart or a second stage... If it were an airstart, I might think it were a central L850 with two J350s airstarting... But if it were two staged, I would think a K550.... However they did it, the second motor(s) firing were a dead-givaway IMHO...


OK. Thats quite a rant, even for me, especially at 1:00 in the morning... Anyways, if you read this far, what do you think of all this? Dont get me wrong, I LOVE the movie (I have watched it about a billion times), but I just thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss... :)

Let the discussions begin!!! :)
 

DynaSoar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
3,007
Reaction score
0
About the soldering, yes it likely come loose. But not until after burnout. It'd only burn for a few seconds, and it'd take something like that for the heat inside the tube to work its way outside. Plus, while it's moving fast, there's air cooling of the surface. Remember, they used Isaac Newton recovery -- free fall. The bird only had to hold together until apogee.

The nozzle washer would burn out fast because the hot gasses were being directed against it under pressure.

As for the other stuff, you can ask the folks at Aerotech and Kevin at Countdown Hobbies. AT made the motors and Kevin sold them the stuff.
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
Yea, I noticed that in an old Sport Rocketry I was re-reading... A Countdown ad said "we supplied the October Sky moviemakers". Anyone from Countdown here? If so, I got questions for ya! ;) :D ;)

But the sodder was perfectly intact when Mr Hickam (Sr.) picked it up... Actually, it burned for a pretty long time, considering the size of the rocket... Long thin motors are supposed to be lighting-fast, right? :confused: This one burned for AT LEAST 3 or 4, if not 5 seconds... Enough to wreak havoc with the fins, if you ask me...

I wonder if they actually did any flight tests with metal-bodied rockets with soddered fins... I wonder...:confused:
 

Steward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
871
Reaction score
1


Movie makers can and do some wild and crazy stuff to get their image across...

They are almost always expected to take great licence in producing what they want and want you to see... and always at the expense of normal reality...

Of course I'm older than you Neil... but, I gave up trying to justify some things you might see on the big (and little) screen... many, many, many years ago...

And I've just retired from that business... after thirty some years...LOL!!!

 

DynaSoar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Messages
3,007
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Neil
Yea, I noticed that in an old Sport Rocketry I was re-reading... A Countdown ad said "we supplied the October Sky moviemakers". Anyone from Countdown here? If so, I got questions for ya! ;) :D ;)

But the sodder was perfectly intact when Mr Hickam (Sr.) picked it up... Actually, it burned for a pretty long time, considering the size of the rocket... Long thin motors are supposed to be lighting-fast, right? :confused: This one burned for AT LEAST 3 or 4, if not 5 seconds... Enough to wreak havoc with the fins, if you ask me...

I wonder if they actually did any flight tests with metal-bodied rockets with soddered fins... I wonder...:confused:
Well, since they had an expert on hand -- the guy the movie was about -- they could just ask him.

How hot the surface of the tube got would depend a lot on what it was made of and how thick it was. If it was thick enough it'd be a heck of a heat sink and hold a lot of heat all through the body, the full length and thickness of the metal. That's a lot of spreading out of the heat. The small area where the solder was wouldn't get a great deal of the total heat.

One other thing I though of: The fins had to be in contact with the body. They too were metal. When the tube got hot, they'd also get hot. They'd act as passive radiators absorbing and radiating away (or again, cooling via airflow) excess heat.

Five seconds, I can see that, especially if it were a steel pipe with 1/8" thick walls.

Kevin's web site is at http://countdownhobbies.com/
You could email or call him.
 

shrox

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
3,716
Reaction score
2
You are forgeting about computer graphics, the scene where it zooms thru town ("It's headed for the mine!") and where the machinist dives for cover next to his car was CG, and I think the long shots of the last launch were also CG.
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
Well, I might give that a try...



Ya know, I might as well just listen to my dad when he says "its Hollywood, Daarlinn!" when I ask him how they shot that, especially in "guy movies" where people are getting bodily thrown out of speeding cars...

Theres a little stuff at the end of the movie that says a little about the filming, but it hardly does my questions justice... I guess I will just have to email Kevin...

So Homer Hickam was there while they were filming the movie? That sounds quite obvious now, but it slipped my mind earlier... Well, it slipped my half-concious brain earlier... ;)
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
Very true, Shrox... Didnt think of CG... Yea, I suppose they must have. The actors must have felt pretty foolish diving over a hill to get away from absolutely nothing... :D
 

daveyfire

Piled Higher and Deeper
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,198
Reaction score
54
Location
thank u, next
The only motor that burns long enough for that last scene would be an I65W... while that is a possibility considering the slow acceleration and ascent of the rocket (and the relatively small flame), I'd doubt they actually used it, because with that big heavy aluminum nozzle, they probably didn't have 5:1 off the rod. I'm almost certain that the long shots of the rocket were CG.
 

qMaxx

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
The only motor that burns long enough for that last scene would be an I65W... while that is a possibility considering the slow acceleration and ascent of the rocket (and the relatively small flame), I'd doubt they actually used it, because with that big heavy aluminum nozzle, they probably didn't have 5:1 off the rod. I'm almost certain that the long shots of the rocket were CG.
The final launch (of the Miss Riley) was filmed with several cameras set at different angles and levels of zoom. After all that film is developed, it's just a matter of editing all the various shots and angles together to look like a single long launch/flight sequence. That's how it seems to be a much longer burn time than we know is possible.

The same thing was done for the rocket at the end of Star Trek: Generations. That rocket was built (actually, I think they built three, in differing levels of detail - the most detailed used for closeup and probably non-flying) using PML parts and was flown on a K1100. The shots of the Miss Riley flight that were shown from her hospital window and inside the town were almost certainly CG shots, but the closer shots were probably the actual flight

IIRC, Ky Michaelson (of Rocketman) built the Miss Riley for the movie and it was flown on a K motor. For awhile, kits of it were available from Rocketman, including a spun aluminum De Laval nozzle.
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
Havent seen Star Trek generations for a while... Ill have to watch it again and look for the rocket! :D What part of the movie is it in? :confused:

That kit was pretty expensive, wasnt it? Somethin like $200... :eek: Would the De Laval nozzel actually work if you shoved a ton of rocket candy up the hole in the back? :D (j/k...)
 

qMaxx

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
107
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by Neil
Havent seen Star Trek generations for a while... Ill have to watch it again and look for the rocket! :D What part of the movie is it in? :confused:
Towards the end. It's the rocket Dr. Soren (Malcolm McDowell) launches to destroy the sun of some planet so he can get to this other dimension and be with his wife again. It's the same movie that the Enterprise-D crash lands in.

That kit was pretty expensive, wasnt it? Somethin like $200... :eek: Would the De Laval nozzel actually work if you shoved a ton of rocket candy up the hole in the back? :D (j/k...)
Dunno, but I think even phenolic wouldn't be able to stand up to the heat and pressure. :eek:
 

Rocketjunkie

Addicted to APCP
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
4,126
Reaction score
351
Miss Riley flew on a K250 and FX was used to extend the burn beyond the actual 10 seconds. The Star Trek rocket used a K1050. This motor is still available from Aerotech (when they make SU motors again).
 

marvSRG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
900
Reaction score
0
According to the book, the first rocket had fins that were put on with electrical tape and made from cardboard, if I remember correctly.

A lot of changes (from the rockets to the characters to the storyline) were made to the real story to make it fit into a normal movie timeframe and to make things more dramatic. Probably none of the launch scenes were exactly as it happened in real life, and I'm sure some of those CATO and flight pics were "spiced up" a bit to make for more interesting launch failure clips in the movie.

Another nitpicky thing that the movie did that was off from the real thing was changing Miss Rileys size, and not paying attention to propellant formulations. If I remember correctly the final rocket wasn't even called Miss Riley, it was just another of the Auk series (Auk 34 or 30 something I think) and also (going off memory here) the actual final rocket was only 2.25" in diameter and 6 ft. tall, and it was launched along with several others, not just that one. That's according to what the book said. They obviously made the real final rocket much bigger and prettier for the movie. The height is about the same, but the diameter and name are different...adding more dramatic effect. Now the propellant formulations were probably not observed because of safey reasons and for the fact that the average joe (not rocketeer) didn't care what speed the motor burned and what the exhaust pattern looked like. They just want to see big rockets flying high into the sky on a big flame. If the movie was correct on propellant formulations then the first rockets were accurately done (blackpowder propellant), the mid-sized ones should have had little to no flame an lots of white smoke (KNO3/sugar), and the last few rockets, being micrograins, should have looked something similar to the linked photos at the bottom of this message.

There's no way to getting everything exact, and that wasn't Hollywood's plan...they based their own created events on actual ones and made theirs fitting to what most people would like to see in a movie.

http://www.aeroconsystems.com/photos/mailrock.htm

http://www.ddeville.com/derek/zinc.htm
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
WHERE DO YOU BUY MICROGRAINS!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! :D :D :D :D Those are some really cool launch pics... Got any more? :D How do they DO that!?

Thats almost as good as a Sparky motor... :D
 

hokkyokusei

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
2,895
Reaction score
2
If you enjoyed the film, and care at all about the subject matter, then you really must read the book. The film is good, but it's not the real story, and the book is an excellent read. Hmmm, think I'll read it again!
 

astrowolf67

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
1,503
Reaction score
6
If you have the DVD, and watch the extra's, you can see the recovery of the last launch, the Miss Riley. Landed right back on the launch site, to the applause of the crowd off to the side watching.
 

JStarStar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
Messages
2,528
Reaction score
56
I got the DVD and I was watching the "bonus materials," where they talk to the directors, actors and Homer Hickam.

Chris Cooper (Homer's dad) gets into an amusing little discussion about how when he was a kid in the early 60s, he actually did launch rockets (but never as big as Homer's.) and seemed to actually know a little bit about design, etc.

That would have been hilarious if, after spending the whole movie being gruff and grouchy and more-or-less discouraging about Homer's crazy rocket stuff, Dad shows up at the big launch, and suddenly says to Homer, "Hey son, did you do CP/CG calculations on that one? Did you take into consideration propellant depletion and in-flight CG shift? You maybe need some root-edge reinforcement on those fin joints... that sucker could shred during boost phase."

:D ;) :p
 

Neil

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
2,826
Reaction score
0
Yea, I think ill read it again too... I just finished re-reading the Harry Potter series, and LOTR trilogy... I guess ill re-read the Davinci Code and Rocket Boys again... :D
 

daveyfire

Piled Higher and Deeper
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,198
Reaction score
54
Location
thank u, next
Originally posted by Neil
WHERE DO YOU BUY MICROGRAINS!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! :D :D :D :D Those are some really cool launch pics... Got any more? :D How do they DO that!?
It's basically a reaction between zinc and sulfur, often shown in high school chemistry classes to show an ox/redox reaction.

But...

Don't mess with it.

PERIOD.

Composite motors have become the dominant technology for a reason: they don't blow up. A micrograin launch is essentially a cannon shot. They vaporize many pounds of propellant in 1/4 second or less. Scary. They must be made of steel to handle the heat and pressure. The propellant is very shock and heat sensitive, so it must be mixed and packed at the launch site -- away from anyone and anything else, Nomex coveralls required. They CATO very often. And believe me, steel motor CATOs aren't pretty. The only micrograins I've seen in action were at the RRS Live Fire 98, and the RRS knows micrograins.

Stick with composites.
 

marvSRG

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2011
Messages
900
Reaction score
0
I DEFINATELY second daveyfire. Dangerous stuff.That was just for show and as an example.

However, it does raise a thought. The Zn/S combination HH and the Rocket Boys used was way different than what is done by amateurs today and in the recent past....I believe theirs was not only a different ratio, but as all who read the book know, it was bound with moonshine (essentially pure methanol), and that's in no way like what is done with Zn/S motors today, from what I know. I wonder what their output was. It evidently worked well....the book said the final Auk (what Ms. Riley was patterned after) was 2.25"x6'-ish and it went about 7 miles up (if not 7, something way up there). It doesn't sound as low effeciency as amateur Zn/S motors I have heard of...it was said to be their most powerful propellant- beating out KNO3/sugar. Any thoughts?
 

gerbs4me

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
3,102
Reaction score
3
Location
Iowa
I htink they called their propellent zincoshine, if I remember correctly. At first they used BP, then moved on to KN/SU, then Zn/S.
 

Ray Dunakin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
According to a magazine article I read, the scenes where the rockets are landsharking and catoing were mostly done with CGI (computer animation).
 

Ray Dunakin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
Messages
1,018
Reaction score
0
Originally posted by daveyfire
Don't mess with it. PERIOD.

Composite motors have become the dominant technology for a reason: they don't blow up. A micrograin launch is essentially a cannon shot. They vaporize many pounds of propellant in 1/4 second or less. Scary. They must be made of steel to handle the heat and pressure. The propellant is very shock and heat sensitive, so it must be mixed and packed at the launch site -- away from anyone and anything else, Nomex coveralls required. They CATO very often. And believe me, steel motor CATOs aren't pretty. The only micrograins I've seen in action were at the RRS Live Fire 98, and the RRS knows micrograins.

Stick with composites.
Several years ago, a TRA member was carrying a small baggie containing about 2 ounces of micrograin propellent. It ignited, possibly by a static spark, and he was very severely burned and nearly died. Nasty stuff!
 
Top