University of Idaho Rocket Accident

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"...testing the rocket in a parking lot..." I wonder what that means? Were they testing deployment charges? Was it a hybrid motor that went wrong (but why would they be doing that in a parking lot?)?

A hope some more info comes to light. Will pray for the kids.
 
Hold my beer....


before this one gets locked up, I'll clearify that I do not think this behavior is typical of college teams, and we can all agree lighting motors by hand or close enough to need eye pro is bad.
 
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So instead of freaking out and screaming that the sky is falling, the TRA or NAR could step in at this point and help the school establish a rocketry program which allows for safe experimentation. One of the articles I read sounds like one of the students walked up to the motor to light it which to me says they we're NOT using a 12v launch system of any sort. Just changing that procedure alone could have made a huge difference. Then, using aluminum casings with a snap-ring design instead of a galvanized steel pipe...Put the motor in a bunker instead of on top of a wooden pallet in a parking lot...I mean the more I read this I see all sorts of things we do differently which would have made a huge difference.

This is why I like NASA SLI program. On one hand, I think the safety procedures they have at that event are WAY over the top but then on the other, for someone to get hurt from that is really unlikely...

(Also, I see no reason for this to get locked up provided everyone stays civil and not wish death on others...)
 
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I'd at least give them the benefit of the doubt in the case. A reporter could easily turn anodized into galvanized.
 
But aluminum into steel, don't think so.
-Ken
he device used for the experiment was a galvanized metal pipe, 8 to 12 inches long and about 1.5 inches in diameter. It was placed on a wooden pallet that was destroyed in the explosio



im hearing 38mm 6 grain motor in a snap ring case, in but in the words a reporter heard
r
 
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"actualize extraordinary visions"

Clearly their thesaurus wasn't damaged in the fire.
 
"actualize extraordinary visions"

Clearly their thesaurus wasn't damaged in the fire.

LOL!!! They can certainly turn a phrase, but apparently they can't turn a page of any reputable rocketry/physics textbooks. I wonder how much of their rocket fuel making "knowledge" came from YouTube videos posted from accounts with names like "Mr. Hold My Beer".
 
Looking at the keywords for the clubs page, no AP listed. However kerosene, oxygen, and hydrogen are....
 
Considering that at least one person is still in the hospital, and accidents are always a possibility even for professionals (see CTI), it's probably not the best to be mocking their knowledge at least until more details are in.

Probably the only thing we know is that at least one cardinal rule of explosives was not followed - minimum explosives, minimum people, for minimum duration. If the size is correct this was maybe a large J motor, so everyone should have been 100 ft away, and certainly having 4 people close enough to be injured at any point of the firing is not ideal.
 
Considering that at least one person is still in the hospital, and accidents are always a possibility even for professionals (see CTI), it's probably not the best to be mocking their knowledge at least until more details are in.

testing a rocket motor in a school parking lot
at 10p.m.
using a pallet to hold it and
a student walking up to light said motor.
in an 8-12" galvanized pipe.

"We were testing a new fuel design for the rocket engine and we didn't have reason to believe it would blow up or anything because it was a slow-burning fuel, but as soon as it was lit, it blew up..."
wont mock em, but question their knowledge and ability of what they were doing with just those facts given.

im sure CTI and others test motors in this manner,too
 
When I first heard about this I thought...BP+metal pipe= pipe bomb! We will know more in the future on what propellant was used. I can not believe the level of stupidity shown by the university and the programs chairperson(s) on safety when firing an experimental rocket motor. Back in the 60's when my high school formed a rocketry club we had to show the fire department and the school officals that it was safe to fly the rockets. At that time it was illegal to fly black powder rockets in Washington State. We safely fired off electronically several estes motors in a pit we dug in the broad jump pit and everyone at least 75 feet away. Once satisfied, that the motors would not explode the school and the fire department laid out some additional safety measures before we could fly. This was in the 60's! when there was hardly any information on rocket safety available, like it is now. Go figure. I see a major law suit coming down the pike.
 
question their knowledge and ability of what they were doing with just those facts given.

But keep in mind that those "facts" are filtered through the usual fog of war, plus the game of telephone that always gets played when a technical event is being reported on by people unfamiliar with the tech involved.

For example, it would be extremely easy for a reporter to turn "anodized" into "galvanized". The pipe is just described as "metal". You take that to mean "galvanized steel/iron", but we don't have confirmation.

And "walked up to light it" - where do you see that? I just see "when it was lit", with no detail on the ignition system or how far away the individual was (or wasn't) when they lit the rocket.

Testing in a parking lot on a pallet - yeah, not as good as in a bunker or buried in a hole, but not inherently unsafe if safe distances and PPE are observed (after all, we fire rockets in open areas all the time. Hard to launch in a shipping container! They even CATO semi-frequently, that's why we have established safety distances). Not sure why 10p.m. matters - late means no bystanders are around, so that's probably a safety feature, not a bug.

Now the likelihood is that some or all standard safety practices were not properly observed. But I think it's irresponsible to speculate on that too much at this point. I only mentioned CTI because I have confidence they have strong safety procedures, and therefore you don't need to be an idiot to get injured when working with rockets. The final root cause might be "they were being idiots", but until we know for sure that's a harsh judgement to apply to the victims here.
 
But keep in mind that those "facts" are filtered through the usual fog of war, plus the game of telephone that always gets played when a technical event is being reported on by people unfamiliar with the tech involved.

For example, it would be extremely easy for a reporter to turn "anodized" into "galvanized". The pipe is just described as "metal". You take that to mean "galvanized steel/iron", but we don't have confirmation.

And "walked up to light it" - where do you see that? I just see "when it was lit", with no detail on the ignition system or how far away the individual was (or wasn't) when they lit the rocket.

Testing in a parking lot on a pallet - yeah, not as good as in a bunker or buried in a hole, but not inherently unsafe if safe distances and PPE are observed (after all, we fire rockets in open areas all the time. Hard to launch in a shipping container! They even CATO semi-frequently, that's why we have established safety distances). Not sure why 10p.m. matters - late means no bystanders are around, so that's probably a safety feature, not a bug.

Now the likelihood is that some or all standard safety practices were not properly observed. But I think it's irresponsible to speculate on that too much at this point. I only mentioned CTI because I have confidence they have strong safety procedures, and therefore you don't need to be an idiot to get injured when working with rockets. The final root cause might be "they were being idiots", but until we know for sure that's a harsh judgement to apply to the victims here.

I agree. The information we have at the moment is not clear or sufficient to draw any conclusions. As others have said, we can only hope and pray that the injuries are not serious.
 
But keep in mind that those "facts" are filtered through the usual fog of war, plus the game of telephone that always gets played when a technical event is being reported on by people unfamiliar with the tech involved.

For example, it would be extremely easy for a reporter to turn "anodized" into "galvanized". The pipe is just described as "metal". You take that to mean "galvanized steel/iron", but we don't have confirmation.

And "walked up to light it" - where do you see that? I just see "when it was lit", with no detail on the ignition system or how far away the individual was (or wasn't) when they lit the rocket.

Testing in a parking lot on a pallet - yeah, not as good as in a bunker or buried in a hole, but not inherently unsafe if safe distances and PPE are observed (after all, we fire rockets in open areas all the time. Hard to launch in a shipping container! They even CATO semi-frequently, that's why we have established safety distances). Not sure why 10p.m. matters - late means no bystanders are around, so that's probably a safety feature, not a bug.

Now the likelihood is that some or all standard safety practices were not properly observed. But I think it's irresponsible to speculate on that too much at this point. I only mentioned CTI because I have confidence they have strong safety procedures, and therefore you don't need to be an idiot to get injured when working with rockets. The final root cause might be "they were being idiots", but until we know for sure that's a harsh judgement to apply to the victims here.

The other reason for 10pm might have been if they were attempting to video the test, that could make certain things more apparent in the exhaust (not sure what, but just a thought).
 
No concept of safety, no supervision by a knowledgeable party, and just bad. Sure, test in a parking lot. Sure, stand close to it. Sorry, this just smells of stupidity and incompetence. I question the continuation of their program without a very serious review of everything they are doing by a knowledgeable, external party.

Accidents happen. That is acknowledged. What is unacceptable is the complete lack of safety in any way, shape, or form.
 
The other reason for 10pm might have been if they were attempting to video the test, that could make certain things more apparent in the exhaust (not sure what, but just a thought).

That may have been a thought. However, for anyone wondering, the motor is the light source, so exposure should be set the same regardless of exterior light supply. If you're looking for black contrast, a painted sheet of plywood works. And if you really wanna pull out Mach diamonds, underexposed so much it looks like midnight at noon. (Can also be done for portraits with the right lights ;) )
 
The school is more known for cloning sheep and their law school being one step above Mississippi State's. The testing in a parking lot goes to the typical arrogance of the U of I student, the "I can do no wrong" is pervasive in their culture.

If it sounds like I'm bagging on the U of I, I am. I'm sorry they got hurt and I'm glad they will all recover. They also don't need to Experiment with propellants. A Rocket Club in Idaho is not going to find some magic new composite propellant that can safely be burned in a parking lot. I mean, did you see the broken stick matches in the stuff on the ground? Is that how they plan to ignite their future rocket, with a match?
 
"A faculty adviser was on hand for the experiment" I would hate to be him or the school at this point. 😳
 

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