Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Intro to the project and myself

My name is Andrew Burns, for some time I've been interested in rockets and rocketry. To that extent I've been involved in model, high power and amateur rocketry for a number of years and am very close to the end of an Aeronautical Engineering degree.

I think myself somewhere between realist and idealist, I'd love to get involved with real commercial rocketry however living in Australia this is a dream I admit will be very likely unfulfilled. However as pessimistic as I am about the state of aerospace in my country that doesn't prevent me from dreaming up various rocket technologies and even building a lot of prototypes, and that's what I intend the purpose of this blog to be, some realist dreaming.

I recall it being said that a wise man understands how much he doesn't know ( or something to that effect ). I don't even pretend to be wise but I do know that no space rocket is built by one man and I know that man certainly wouldn't be me. Things I'm not:

  • Politician/lawyer/businessman. It takes a lot more than making a working rocket to get it off the ground, there's a whole world of bureaucracy ready to kick you while you're down. I've never been one for negotiating this minefield.
  • Programmer. I can deal with electronics to some degree, I can program microcontrollers in BASIC and program in matlab to some degree but I'm not a programmer and I doubt I ever will be. You're not getting anything to space without sophisticated telemetry and control systems, my basic programming skills have gotten me pretty far but not that far.
  • Space engineer. As a soon-to-be aeronautical engineer I feel I have a good grasp on structures, aerodynamics, thermo and fluid dynamics but I'm no space engineer. Once I actually get into matters of space I'm lacking in my orbital dynamics and vacuum thermodynamics, that's why the blog is about launch vehicles and not cubesats ;)

And the list goes on but those are what I feel most important when considering space launch vehicles. On the other hand I feel that I am/will be a good, practical and hands on engineer with a strong grasp of a lot of the disciplines that go into designing a large functional rocket so that’s what I'll focus on.

Some people may have heard of the n-prize, some might not. If you haven't it's basically a prize to launch a laughably tiny satellite into orbit on a budget smaller than it costs to buy a good home entertainment set and if you manage it you get enough money to actually buy that home entertainment set with some change. Personally I don't think the prize is achievable but that's neither here nor there, I think the main aspect of the prize is to promote thought and discussion on the subject. I do think that with the right people, the money and a favourable regulatory environment, small launch vehicles are possible. As I said before don't ask me if it would be profitable but I think it could be done and I can definitely see some practical uses for it. Like the n prize I'm making this blog to share my ideas and hopefully spark some thought on the subject, pipe-dream or not I can't see the harm in the free exchange of ideas.

So that's it for me and this blog, hopefully I can get to posting something interesting soon, I'll try to get pictures and real information into everything because I know nobody cares about what I had for breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. HELLO!
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