Quote from iamnull on November 24, 2011, 08:55
Edit: Whoa! Didn't notice this had gone to five pages when I replied! This reply was in the context of only reading to the last reply on the first page.
Quote from jamesh on November 17, 2011, 14:31
In case you don't know, only one non-governmental organisation has EVER put something in orbit. SpaceX. Cost $100Million.
There is a competition in full swing at the moment called the N-Prize for orbital attempts. but no-one has won that yet. Or even got close.
John Carmack of Doom/Quake/Rage fame runs Armadillo aerospace and has a lot of rocket experience. His last effort to just get to 100kft crashed and burned. (STIG)
Copenhagan Sub orbitals are trying to get to orbit - they had a low altitude test earlier this year which sort of failed. At least it left the pad.
All the above use customised electronics. I think a mobile may not be robust enough for what you are planning. A raspi might work, and would be easier than modifying a phone. As someone else said, the electronics are by far the easy easy easy easy bit. If you think they are hard, then you might have trouble grasping how difficult getting stuff up there is. It's not that rocket science is difficuly, it's that rocket engineering is VERY VERY VERY difficult.
o.O Never said I thought the electronics were hard. Finding a way of keeping them from melting actually seems more daunting than the wiring and coding. I'm not quite sure how to regulate the temperature of the circuits and batteries. They'll be facing extreme cold and a buildup of heat.
I have one single advantage over pretty much every private company trying to get to space: I'm not invested in recovering the craft, I have no intentions of it being used to collect any valuable data, and I'm not designing it with the hopes of turning it into a manned launch vehicle. That should cut the costs significantly. Optimistically, it could reduce the cost under $100k. Less optimistically, it'll represent the cost of a very nice house. No, I have no idea where funding would come from. At this point trying for even a ballpark cost estimate would be purely pulling a number out of my bum.
As I said, the liquid fuel system is the biggest problem. It's going to probably have to be custom built, most likely out of aluminum or titanium, and it'll have to be done right. I cant seem to find a lot of verifiable information, just vague descriptions of various parts. Unless I can find hard information on things like how differently shaped injection ports affect the injection of O2/H2 into the combustion chamber, I'm pretty much dead in the water. The information is out there, I just don't know where to go to get it.
To be honest, I thought nobody had actually successfully orbited a private craft. Reading about it, it doesn't surprise me that I missed that since I was really busy when they launched that vehicle.
I'm afraid you are still woefully underestimating the complexity of a rocket. Ignore the electronics, that the easy bit. The fact that you have never heard of SpaceX (I assume that's who you refer to), means that you really haven't looked in to this enough.
There are lots of people (not just companies) who have had the same aims as yourself - not bothered with manned (Armadillo), not bothered with recovery (Copenhagan, SpaceX [yet]), not worried about data (most of them).
Have you ever designed or run a rocket engine? Lots of people out there have (see arocket list for example, Tripoli rocket association etc), and NO-ONE except SpaceX (after > $100mill) has put something in orbit.
$100k won't get you very far at all. Probably not even the custom parts for a nozzle + tanks + plumbing. You cannot buy rocket engines capable of orbital ISP, you have to make them yourself.
I think Armadillo's STIG rocket cost about $50k. And failed on its first launch due to aerodynamic issues - see their website. This is from a company that spent the last 10 years perfecting their rocket engine.
There is LOTS of information out there, read it.
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