Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pushing the envelope

Thanks for stopping by. As you can tell from my post rate, or lack thereof, it's been a dry couple of months. I've got this pesky dissertation thing to finish by May, so my rocketry has to take a back seat for a while.

Still, something has come up that I am compelled to write about. I've never been a huge fan of nFNCs. It's nice to have a few in your collection for sport launching, but I've always been more attracted to scale models and oddrocs. I am always trying to think up new ways to make rockets fly--either fly unconventionally, or fly conventionally but look strange doing it. I know I'm not alone in this; that's probably what half the rocketeers in the world are up to.

But most of the time there is nothing new under the sun. The demands of stable flight in an atmosphere put fairly strong constraints on what a rocket can be and still work. Over the past few decades rocketeers have been pushing back at those constraints, or trying to find ways around them, but it's not very often that I see a rocket that just blows me away in terms of originality.

Therefore I was intrigued to see this thing (below) put up as a possibility in EMRR's Spaceship Design Challenge.

It's just...weird. Whatever my previous idea of the limits of aerodynamic form, this thing is outside of them. I love it.

And somebody actually built it and made it fly. The designer calls it the Annulus, appropriately. Here are some pictures I stole from EMRR.

My next big rocket-building fest is a ways off. Months, probably. But whenever it comes around again, I really want to try building something like this.