Here is where you can find a brief summary of my past and current projects, as well as my current goals. The most recent activity is listed at the top of the page.
August 2020: Additional flight experience. I was able to make it to another high power launch and got in three more flights on the Darkstar Extreme. I flew it on another K-535, a K-850, and an L-1000. Each flight used dual deploy successfully, although I made a variety of mistakes from which I learned a ton!
July 2020: Rebuilt e-bay and retooled. The June certifications and additional flights in Brothers occurred at the end of the month, and I learned a lot from both experiences. I spent some time cleaning up my rockets and rebuilding the e-bay in the Darkstar Extreme to have much more robust redundancy. I added a second (backup) flight computer and installed additional black powder charge holders, wiring, etc. as well as a sonic buzzer to help locate the rocket after landing.
June 2020: L1 and L2 certifications. I completed the Darkstar Extreme in June, and also finally had a chance to attend my first high power launch. I flew my HyperLOC 835 twice – once on an I-140 motor for my L1 cert, and after passing the L2 written exam, a second flight on a J-270 motor using dual deploy for my L2 cert. Couldn’t ask for a better experience! I also had a chance to attend a second launch (with OROC in Brothers, OR) where I flew the HyperLOC 835 again on an I-500 motor, and the Darkstar Extreme made its first appearance on a K-535 motor, again using dual deploy.
May 2020: Darkstar Extreme. I began construction of my second high power rocket – and first fiberglass rocket – the Darkstar Extreme. The newly completed workshop was invaluable for this project. It took a while to even determine the full list of necessary materials and buy/ order everything, but I eventually was able to begin work, and the rocket is just about finished.
April 2020: Workshop complete. There were a lot of smaller, discrete steps in building the workshop, but it finally all came together in April, and I had a chance to finish up the interior space. This included general cleanup, additional light fixtures, organizing tools and equipment, putting together a new workbench, etc.
March 2020: Workshop. Work continued in building the backyard workshop. The most significant part of the project was running electricity out to the shed from the main electrical panel in the house. I finished this in March and am just putting a few final pieces in place to make this into a rocketry workshop with tons of potential for future projects. I also just started looking into welding metal.
February 2020: E-bay and workshop. Constructed electronics bay after quite a bit of planning and design, and simply figuring out all the components. I did some initial ground testing with the rocket and e-bay, using black powder charges. I also continued work to transform the garden shed into rocket workshop – a major project.
January 2020: Amateur radio license and e-bay. I continued to learn about electronics and planned the build of my first e-bay. I also recently spent some time studying for the “Technician Class” Amateur Radio Licensing Exam – and successfully passed! I am now officially licensed as a ham radio station operator (KJ7LRF), which is important primarily for using a flight computer in my rockets. I also began efforts to transform my back yard shed into a rocket workshop.
December 2019: Electronics. While I was waiting for the next available window for a high power launch, I took the opportunity to explore some of the cool electronics that can go into a rocket and planned some major upgrades to the HyperLOC 835.
November 2019: Built a high power rocket. I purchased the HyperLOC 835, my first high power rocket, and I’ve been working on putting it together. It’s a much bigger project than any of my previous rockets.
October 2019: Low and mid power rockets. I’ve purchased another set of model rockets from Estes. One is the Athena, which is relatively small but should go pretty high. The other is a much larger rocket than any I’ve tried so far – the “Mean Machine,” a projectile that measures 79″ (more than 6 feet) in length. This is slightly taller than I am, and it requires either D or E class motors to launch, with a maximum height of around 700 feet. I assembled and launched both.
September 2019: First model rockets. I’m just getting started with my first model rockets. I bought an Estes kit and finished building my first two rockets: a Crossfire ISX, which is about 15 inches tall and can fly approximately 1,200 feet into the air. The kit also includes a second, larger rocket – the E2X Amazon, which is just under 36 inches tall and can fly up to 600 feet. I successfully launched both several times and posted some video highlights.