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rocket_smallsat.jpg

photo: jurvetson

Matthew Reyes sent word that the RocketMavericks launch event on Saturday in Nevada’s Black Rock desert was a resounding success. Traveling 28K feet aboard James Dougherty’s Intimidator-5 rocket was a payload consisting of a Nexus One/Arduino SmallSat. Matthew and his cohorts Chris Boshuizen & Will Marshall are championing the use of smartphone components to lower the cost of deploying a satellite and expect it to become even more affordable with every revision.

Civilian space exploration is starting to take off. In fact, MAKE: v24 will be our “DIY Space” issue, so if you’re working on an interesting project you think we should see, feel free to post a link in the comments.

Here’s a video with Matthew explaining the evolution of the SmallSat shot earlier this year at Maker Faire 2010:

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. MadRat says:

    I’ve always wondered, why not take a smaller rocket, pull it as high as you can with weather balloons, then it launch into a higher orbit from there?

    1. Garak says:

      I would think a fully loaded rocket is pretty heavy, it would take more than a weather balloon to lift it. Then you have to deal with the transfer from balloon lift to rocket lift while making sure the rocket is pointing perfectly in the proper direction. Your totally at the mercy of the winds.

      Also entering orbit isn’t the same as getting out of the atmosphere. The rocket must still accelerate to the point where centrifugal force equals gravity. This is where most of the energy goes in entering orbit.

      1. lessgravity says:

        Yes entering orbit is difficult but Rockoons are becoming quite common as a means of reaching high altitude.I know of several current amateur projects that are in the works. Back in 1957 the US launched a Rockoon(rocket-balloon) to an altitude of 4000 miles
        LINK – http://rocketry.wordpress.com/2007/09/11/farside-rocket-flight-of-a-rockoon/
        That’s an amazing altitude but as with sounding rockets the trajectory was a simple parabolic arc. Orbit requires orbital trajectory and orbital speed.

    2. MadRat says:

      The way I imagined a rocket/balloon launch would work is to attach balloons to a ring. The rocket would slide into the ring and be held there by fins. When the rocket reached a pretty good height, the motor would fire, shooting it out of the ring, past the balloons and up into orbit.

  2. lessgravity says:

    A great MAKE project for both young and old is building cardstock/paper rockets and launching them. The designs are limitless.
    Take a look at The Rocketry Blog – http://rocketry.wordpress.com/

    There is an entire section devoted to them with hundreds of designs to print and fly:
    http://rocketry.wordpress.com/ultimate-paper-rocket-guide/

  3. astrohack says:

    Interesting article. One of the roadblocks we’ve run into is cost and this is a step in the right direction. Check us out at http://www.astrohack.com

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