Amateur rocketry , sometimes known as experimental rocketry or amateur experimental rocketry , is a hobby in which participants experiment with fuels and make their own rocket motors, launching a wide variety of types and sizes of rockets. Amateur rocketeers have been responsible for significant research into hybrid rocket motors, and have built and flown a variety of solid, liquid, and hybrid propellant motors. Amateur rocketry was an especially popular hobby in the late s and early s following the launch of Sputnik , as described in Homer Hickam 's memoir Rocket Boys. One of the first organizations set up in the US to engage in amateur rocketry was the Pacific Rocket Society established in California in the early s. The group did their research on rockets from a launch site deep in the Mojave Desert. In the summer of , year-old Jimmy Blackmon of Charlotte, North Carolina built a 6-foot rocket in his basement.
Amateur Rocketeers Chase $10,000 Launch Prize Offered by John Carmack
Amateur Rocketeers Chase $10 | Space
And the rocket launched by Team Qu8k pronounced "quake" may just be the booster to beat. Carmack, who leads the Texas-based private spaceflight company Armadillo Aerospace , is a co-founder of id Software, the computer game company behind the popular "Doom" and "Quake" titles. The Qu8k rocket's GPS systems failed to register a reading confirming the rocket's altitude. But accelerometer data and other measurements provide ample proof, according to the rocketeers, so they're still holding out hope. Carmack announced the prize in February of this year. In addition to the altitude and recovery requirements, competitors must also write a high-quality report about the launch and make video of it available.
A closer look at how amateur rocketeers plan to launch a human into space
As the founder of Barnard Propulsion Systems BPS , a small business making flight hardware for other amateur rocketeers, the year-old Nashville resident is working on cracking propulsive landings for model rockets. This is the same principle that allows SpaceX to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rockets after boosting a payload to orbit, but it has never been demonstrated in hobby rocketry before. Although thrust vectoring has been used in the aerospace industry for nearly a century, it was a technology generally considered to be too complex and expensive for amateur use.
Such failures are common in amateur rocketry, and Copenhagen Suborbitals is no exception. However, the Denmark group's ambitions far outstrip those of other amateur clubs. The group says its tests are leading up to development of the Spica rocket, a meter-tall launcher with a liftoff mass of 4,kg, mostly fuel.