“Mad Mike”: why a self-taught engineer assembled a rocket in a garage

Photo: © Video screenshot

A homemade rocket takes off into the sky in the desert against the backdrop of mountains

Photo: © Video screenshot

March 2018, Mojave Desert in southern California. In the rocket’s seat is not an experienced pilot, but self-taught engineer Mike Hughes. The aircraft itself is not from the space center; this rocket is homemade. Mike, or, as the Americans called him, “Mad Mike,” assembled it in the garage. And she soared to a height of 570 meters.

Will a rocket made of plywood reach space? And is it possible to 3D print a space satellite? Talks about this program “Science and Technology” with Mikhail Borzenkov on REN TV.

Built a rocket in the garage, hoping to prove that “the Earth is not round”

But why does Mike Hughes need a homemade rocket? So the American decided to prove that the Earth is not round.

“I don’t believe what scientists tell us. And I’m sure that all the photographs from space are not real. So I raised money and built a rocket myself. I intend to go into space, take true pictures and prove that scientists are deceiving us and the Earth is really actually flat” – says the amateur astronaut.

The American made three flights on homemade rockets and spent a lot of money on it. But if someone doesn’t have 18 thousand dollars even for one attempt, it’s not scary. You can dream about space in your garage for almost nothing.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Recreated the effect of Mach rings

Here’s another invention: a wave-like stream of gas erupts from a nozzle. These are supersonic disks, or Mach rings. They are formed due to the pressure difference between the air and the jet stream. But you don’t need to have a real rocket engine at hand to see them.

Igor Negoda from Rostov-on-Don recreated the effect of Mach rings using a combustion chamber from a helicopter engine. I attached a narrow nozzle to it to achieve a supersonic jet. And installed an auxiliary power unit, which created the required pressure.

“The picture does not convey all the beauty of this jet stream. It is much more beautiful with the eyes. These rings are like alive, inside there is a flame tube, and a working nozzle should be installed in the center. And at the exit, already hot gas escapes with great speed,” – said the Russian inventor.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Assembled an aircraft from plywood and cardboard

To be closer to space, Zyla Foxlin from the USA assembled not just part of a rocket, but an entire aircraft. Made from plywood and cardboard. But something had to lift her into the air. Zayla placed a liquid engine in a cardboard tube. The rocket rose into the sky, but did not reach space.

We decided to conquer space on a beer keg

Graduates of the University of San Diego have come up with nothing better than to fly into space on a rocket made of beer kegs. The design does not require any costs: kegs after the party and knowledge of the laws of physics.

“This rocket will run on a mixture of pressurized ethanol and liquid oxygen. The kegs are made of a chemically inert structure, they are very durable and also relatively inexpensive. It is enough to simply burn the liquid fuel and oxidizer inside the keg. And this way we will get jet thrust for launch rockets”, – said engineer Ryan Callahan.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Students assembled a universal construction rocket

It is clear that for American graduates the beer rocket is just entertainment, but students from Samara take space exploration seriously. At the design bureau, rocket scientists assembled a working model that has no analogues in Russia.

In 2021, the rocket rose to a record height – above two kilometers – and returned safely to Earth. What is unique about the Samara apparatus? The fact is that modern rockets are one-piece, they are created in a single copy. Samara students invented a modular device that can be assembled like a construction set. Each rocket will no longer have to be made from scratch; it is enough to change modules for the required tasks. The development turned out to be so breakthrough that the project was supported by Roscosmos.

“The launch was successful, even despite the bad weather: there was a very heavy wind at that time, 12 meters per second. The rocket showed very good aerodynamic qualities, the rocket was stable, the flight was successful,” – said the head of the student design bureau at SNIU. Academician S.P. Queen Victor Mayorov.

Photo: © Video screenshot

After the successful launch, they decided to make the rocket even better – they added lightness to it using fiberglass parts.

“This is the central block itself, and this is the rescue system block. Here is the parachute, here is the braking parachute, as well as the two-stage parachute release. And here is the control system. Everything in this rocket is driven by a servo drive. Here is the tail section: It’s also very compact, very light and durable.” – the scientist explained.

The next goal of the young engineers is to conquer a height of ten kilometers. The rocket that will do this has not yet been assembled, but is already being designed.

“This rocket will also be a roll axis control system. It will accelerate the rotation. This will stabilize the rocket and allow it to rise to an even higher altitude. So it is quite a complex system.” – noted a first-year student at the Institute of Informatics and Cybernetics of the SNIU named after. Academician S.P. Queen Evelina Yudanova.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Getting ready to launch a man to the Karman line

Unlike the project of Russian students, no one has yet supported the idea of ​​amateur engineers from Denmark. But the designers dream of launching a person to the Karman line – to an altitude of one hundred kilometers. To do this, they are preparing not just a rocket, but a four-ton apparatus with a capsule for the pilot.

“20 seconds after launch, the rocket will break the sound barrier and at a speed of more than three and a half thousand kilometers per hour will reach an altitude of 100 kilometers. After this, the braking device will operate, the rocket will turn around and begin to descend. A parachute will operate four kilometers from the Earth. And the capsule with the pilot will land smoothly on Earth,” – said board member of the amateur space program Mads Wilson.

Photo: © Video screenshot

Printed a satellite on a 3D printer

A teenager from India, Rifat Shaaruk, decided to start his own space exploration small. In the literal sense of the word. He simply 3D printed a palm-sized satellite. Such devices are otherwise called cubesats. NASA specialists liked the tiny invention so much that they launched the Rifat cubesat from the center’s site in Virginia. The satellite, created by an Indian schoolboy, spent four hours in orbit.

“All the parts of the satellite are made of carbon fiber, it weighs only 64 grams. Inside the cubesat there is an on-board computer and eight built-in sensors that measure acceleration, rotation and the Earth’s magnetic field,” – noted amateur engineer Rifat Shaaruk.

Photo: © Video screenshot

How schoolchildren managed to assemble a “Martian” satellite

The next installation, strange at first glance, is practically a Martian researcher. And schoolchildren from Sevastopol collected it. This satellite has already been to the stratosphere with a passenger – white mold. Plastic containers contain a fungus from the genus Mucor. The same white coating that appears on products. Young scientists decided to test whether mold would survive in the Earth’s stratosphere. The pressure there is approximately the same as that of the Martian surface.

“Here are the containers themselves in which our mold was located. One was in conditions without heat, without humidity. They were printed, by the way, on 3D printers. We tried to insulate the second,” – says Elizaveta Vasilyeva, a participant in the All-Russian research program for schoolchildren and students “Stratospheric Satellite”.

The schoolchildren’s satellite rose to a height of 24 kilometers, but returned from the trip with losses.

Photo: © Video screenshot

“The mold that was isolated and maintained at a certain temperature and humidity survived the flight and continued its life activity on Earth. But the mold that was without isolation in the conditions of the stratosphere itself, unfortunately, did not survive,” – said the schoolgirl.

If young scientists manage to create comfortable conditions for mold on Mars, then humanity will be one step closer to exploring the Red Planet. And the contribution to this will not be made by professional researchers, but by simple dreamers of space. It would not be surprising if among the colonizers of Mars was a former schoolboy with a satellite and white mold in his pocket. Or someone’s slightly strange neighbor with a rocket in his garage.

About the most incredible achievements of progress, discoveries of scientists, innovations that can change the future of humanity, watch in the “Science and Technology” program with host Mikhail Borzenkov on REN TV.

Source: Ren


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