30K Club

Martin Aspell & Joel Schiff: Some rocketeers are aiming high. Really high — like 10,000 meters high. Martin Aspell and Joel Schiff hold the current NZ altitude record of 33,701 ft (10,275m) Of course, they are planning to go even higher. This was just the beginning. There are also rumblings in other quarters, and so the quest is on.

To the right are the altitude and g-force data of Martin and Joel's record flight. The rocket also went mach 1.5 in the process. Their altitude was achieved in a Mongoose 98 with a Aerotech N1000 motor that produced 14,000 N-s of total impulse.

The sky is indeed the limit!


Phil Vukovich: I was comfortable with the airframe etc, now it was time to put the big motor together. I was terified because I didn't static test the motor, I just relied on my calculations to be correct. So the motor slides into the airframe, and 8x10mm bolts hold it all together. Boy did she go on launch day! Finding it is not such an issue with the rdas GPS unit aboard relaying back its location. Just means you have to climb the odd tree at times.

Ethan Kosoof & Chris North: These two, along with the help of Matt Graham achieved a stunning altitude of 26,500 ft with their Aether rocket. The 75 mm minimum diameter airframe was made from scratch out of layers of carbon fiber cloth using a mandrel. The booster is 90 cm long and weighs a mere 450 grams (empty). The fins are fiberglass which have tabs of CF over the root of the fins followed by larger pieces of CF.

Clockwise --->

* The fiberglass fins after being tacked on and filleted with thickened epoxy.

* The electronics sled which slides into the airframe.

* The rocket assembled. It still needed another filling/primer coat and then the bare CF surfaces were wet sanded and polished.