Glorious 121,000′ Amateur Rocket Flight

Fun & Games Rockets
Glorious 121,000′ Amateur Rocket Flight
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Photo credit: Gregory L. Mayback

On September 30, Derek Deville’s Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”) rocket blasted off from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, screaming to an altitude of 121,000 feet. It was returned safely to earth and fully recovered (three miles from the launch site). The video above is the longer 17-minute version of the launch, but there’s a lot of awesome stuff, including some assembly and set-up pics, launch footage, and footage from two on-board cameras. The 7-minute free-fall might be a bit dizzying and dull but you can skip that part. The shorter version is here.

The launch was an attempt at winning the Carmack Prize. So did they win? Unfortunately, no. At least not yet. The Carmack Prize requires GPS data over 100K feet. Derek writes:

Even with 4 separate GPS systems, we were not able to get a high altitude fix. We picked up position on the way down, but by then it was too late. I’m going to write a tech article (another requirement) and submit it anyway to see what happens.

There are lots of awesome build and launch photos on Derek’s Qu8k page.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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