Steve Eves lives the dream

Steve Eves launched a 1/10th scale model of the Saturn V rocket on April 25 in a field in Maryland. It was 36 feet tall and weighed 1,600 lbs. It flew to an altitude of about 4,000 ft. and returned safely. Here’s video I found that shows a bit of Steve’s story, and the launch.

This was awsome to see, even just on video! Steve succeeded in setting the world record. This flight will be recorded in the Guinness Book.

Seeing this reminded me of when I once launched a 6 ft. tall Estes rocket called “Mean Machine” with some friends more than 20 years ago, out in a field that’s a block away from where I live now. I remember it used a D-size solid rocket engine and when it launched it was loud, sounding like a jet engine. It flew up so high we could barely see it. It looked like a small dot in the huge sky. I had launched many smaller, less powerful model rockets before this. They flew up between 50 and 200 ft. I had never seen one go up this high (the instructions from Estes always said “check for low flying aircraft before launch”, and of course power lines)! For a bit I wondered if I’d ever see it again, or if a wind current had caught it and blown it away. It came back down…without its parachute about 20 yards away from where it was launched. The 24″ parachute with a light plastic nose cone attached seemed to take forever to come down. It landed right near where I live now. The “launch lug”, I believe it was called, The shock cord mount, which attached the parachute to the fuselage, had separated from the rocket body. I had built the rocket 2 or 3 years before I launched it. The glue that held it on had gotten old and brittle. My interest in model rockets was waning. It had been overtaken by my interest in computers. It was the last rocket I launched.

Back when I was really into model rockets (elementary and jr. high school) I imagined building and launching ones like the one Steve built; how neat that would be. It’s really gratifying to see someone do it.

Edit 5/28/09: I found this video today of a Space Shuttle model rocket and I could not pass up including it here. The boosters detach in mid-flight, and at apogee the Shuttle detaches and ignites it’s own engine for a few seconds. The Shuttle looks like it’s radio controlled from its flight pattern, and it comes in for a smooth landing! WOW! I imagine this is homemade. I doubt it came as a kit. I have no idea who made it though. The description on the video at YouTube didn’t say.

Edit 3/20/14: I found yet another neat Shuttle model. Footage is from 1994. They even modeled the launch tower! According to another video I saw of this model, the boosters and main engine ignite separately, just like the real Shuttle did, though when it goes off all I can see is the main engine’s exhaust.