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Flutter-By Caught By Spider

From Scott Johnson:

“So I was painting my Flutter-By (Centuri Style); doing 10 minute intervals of red paint. In between painting, my Flutter-By was caught by a spider…”

See: http://www.rocketreviews.com/flutter-by-caught.html

The Naked Gun: “Special Thanks to : Tripoli Rocketry Association”

The Naked Gun“It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day.”

Watching the 1988 film The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! via Amazon Prime the other night, I was surprised to see the following scroll by during the end credits:

Special Thanks to: Tripoli Rocketry Association

“Aha,” I thought, “That’s where the name came from.”

To back up and explain.  The origins of “Tripoli” as the name of one of our major rocketry associations is clouded in myth and the fog of history.

I’d never really thought much about the name’s origin before.  But, here was an explanation.  As a contributor to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) had done earlier, I assumed that the credit was a comedic reference to events in the film (“the scene in which the car with the villain in it crashes into a mobile scud launcher before crashing into a fireworks store”).

I imagined someone seated in a theater, finishing his popcorn as the “Naked Gun” credits scroll up the screen.  “Special Thanks to : Tripoli Rocketry Association” appears. Pieces of popcorn fly from his mouth as he exclaims, “That’s it! [pffft!] That’s the name for our new rocketry organization.”

It’s a good story.  It would be even better if it were true.  It only took me only a few minutes of Googling to discover that the “Tripoli Rocketry Association” was incorporated in 1987, a year before the film’s release.

And the source of the name “Tripoli” isn’t much of a mystery.  The “History” page of the organization’s web site traces the name back to a local club formed long ago:

In December 1964 a group of high school students in Irwin, Pennsylvania formed a high school science club, with Francis (Glenn) Graham being one of the key founding members. The club was geared to all areas of science, but centered around astronomy and rocketry. Members of the club came from three cities in the area: East Pittsburgh, North Braddock, and Irwin. To help finance experiments and projects, one of the members donated some gold coins he had received from his father. These coins came from Tripoli, Lebanon during World War II. Since the members came from three towns, and Tripoli (roughly) meant “three cities,” the name was accepted and they were known as the Tripoli Science Club.

So, as much as I wish it were true, the name of the Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA) did not originate with a joke credit at the end of the first Naked Gun film.  That just leaves us with the question of why the TRA is credited at the end of the film.  Is it just a joke or did someone from the organization actually help the makers of the film?

After many hours of Googling (that’s my new favorite non-word), I have an answer: “I don’t know.” 

 

CSXT Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Amateur Space Launch By Doing It Again

In May of 2004, the Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT) launched a 21-foot long rocket to an altitude of 72 miles. The “Go Fast” rocket became the “first American civilian sounding rocket to reach outer space” and the first verified launch into space by an amateur group.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the achievement, the CSXT did it again.

The rocket carried a military grade Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which had previously flown on four commercial space missions launched from the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Analysis of the data from the recovered IMU shows that the GoFast rocket reached 385,800 feet (73.1 miles) with a top speed of 3,580 miles per hour.

 

Model Rockets Take to the Sky

On Juky 22, KTVN Channel 2 aired a new story about Reno Rocketry, the Northern Nevada chapter of Tripoli.

 

The station’s videographer placed GoPro cameras under and near the launch pads to obtain dramatic video of the launches. The “drag race” shot was accidental. “User error” resulted in several rockets launching at once.

 

Presidio, Texas, Rocketry Teacher Gets Green Card

Two years ago, Shella Condino, a Texas teacher known for using rocketry to inspire and educate, received a letter from the US Immigrations Service saying, “You are not authorized to remain in the United States and to depart as soon as possible.”

A Texas congressman investigated and learned that the letter had been sent by mistake. Shella Condino now has a “Green Card” and continues to inspire her students in Presidio, Texas. Earlier this year, she once again, lead a team of kids to the Team America Rocketry Challenge finals. The team finished fourth over all in the nationwide competition.

Jose Galindo, Lizzbeth Jordan, and Marissa Gray

Estes Phoenix Bird at 50% Off

As I write this blog post, Amazon.com is offering the Estes Phoenix model rocket kit at more than 50% off its regular retail price of $23.99. If you are an Amazon Prime member, there is no extra charge for two-day shipping.

I was alerted to the special price by using the RocketReviews.com Rocketry Deals Finder.

 

Flight Log Improvements

You can now manage your Flight Log at Community.RocketReviews.com. Log in using your RocketReviews.com email address and password. Then click the “My Flight Log” link in the “My Account Menu.”

The Flight Log dashboard will be displayed with brief statistics about the information in your Flight Log. At the top of the dashboard is a menu bar.

Click the “Rockets” button in the menu bar to see a list of the rockets in your Flight Log. Click “Add Rocket” button to add a new rocket.

Click the “Flights” button in the menu bar to see a list of the flights in your Flight Log. Click the “Add Flight” button to add a new flight.

The new Flight Log feature in the RocketReviews.com Community uses the same database as the existing Flight Log feature at RocketReviews.com. But, it offers a much nicer interface for entering and editing flights.

The new Flight Log interface allows you to

Continue reading Flight Log Improvements …

The RocketReviews.com Community

After a false start a few months ago, I’ve reintroduced the RocketReviews.com Community. RocketReviews.com Community adds a new layer of social interaction on top of RocketReviews.com.

The most obvious new feature is the collection of Forums where members may discuss various rocketry topics.

The RocketReviews.com category of the Forums includes content originally posted to RocketReviews.com. Currently, it has just one forum, the Reviews forum, but more will be added later.

When a review is published at RocketReviews.com, a topic is automatically created in the Reviews category containing a summary of the review and a link to read the full review. You can comment on the review by posting a reply to the topic. This replaces the review comment feature which was a part of RocketReviews.com. Replies to a review’s topic will be displayed on the review page at RocketReviews.com along with a link to the Community forum.

For example, look at the Scratch – Uranus

Continue reading The RocketReviews.com Community …

RocketReviews.com Moved to New Server

Over the past weekend, I transferred the RocketReviews.com website to a new server. One of the hard drives on the old server began showing signs of failing, so I decided to move RocketReviews.com and the other sites I host to the new server.

The new server is very similar to the one used before. It has an Intel Xeon Quadcore processor and 4GB of memory. It’s running RedHat Linux and is located in one of Softlayer’s data centers in Dallas, Texas, with direct connections to the largest and fastest internet backbones.

The only real difference between the new server and the old is that the new server has three 500GB hard drives in a RAID 5 configuration while the old server had just two 500GB drives configured individually. The RAID system provides protection in case a drive fails. If one of the drives fails, a new one can replace it without turning the system off.

Continue reading RocketReviews.com Moved to New Server …

Supporting Bruce McLawhorn of Semroc

Earlier this year, Carl McLawhorn passed away leaving his wife, Sheryl, and son Bruce to run Semroc. Now, the family is facing more emotional trauma as Bruce is in the hospital. Admitted suffering from an intense form of the flu and pneumonia, his kidneys stopped functioning forcing him to be placed on dialysis. Bruce’s long-term outlook is good, but he has a long road to recovery and the family is already experiencing financial hardship.

Members of the rocketry community are coming together to support Bruce, Sheryl and Semroc by sending donations by PayPal to sales@semroc.com.

Jeffery Smith is auctioning a built and finished FlisKits Nomad with the proceeds going to support Bruce and his family.