Friday, March 04, 2011

Video Del Fuego, Part XLI

As it turns out, rocket science is actually pretty hard. Consider the recent launch failure at Vandenberg. The Taurus XL rocket is a direct descendant of the Pegasus launcher, which had always been fairly reliable. But for some inexplicable reason, they're having problems with fairing separation lately, with three of the last four launches having been failures.

Back in the day, a fairing separation failure wouldn't necessarily mean the vehicle wouldn't reach orbit. But operating margins were a lot more generous back then. Nowadays, if you have a hundred extra pounds hanging off the second stage, that's the difference between reaching orbit, and getting an up-close view of the South Pacific.

In any case, that prompted me to look for some pictures of launch failures. Why? No real reason. Except that the videos are pretty cool. But my search was sidetracked pretty quick, when I found about this guy who built a one-tenth scale model of a Saturn V. Yes, that's thirty feet tall, and yes, that's a flying model.

Here's a video of the rocket under construction:

I don't want to say that our professionals are overrated (mostly because I'm one of them), but I'm thinking maybe we ought to let our amateurs have a go at it for a while.

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