Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Beta Rocket

Solomon - 2-8-2013 at 21:53

I am wondering if anyone knows where I can find plans for space ready rockets that could deliver a picosatelite into low earth orbit. I have searched for months, but the best rocket plans that I found were the plans in the rocket manual for amateurs on page 167 for the 20,000 foot range beta rocket. I don't know if anyone has plans like this laying around by chance, but they would by great to study. The only other alternative is for me to preform thousands of equations to design plans for a rocket like this.

[Edited on 8-3-2013 by Solomon]

laz514 - 14-10-2013 at 13:45

Massive amount of information here:

Great source to get you started for high performance chemicals is:

Also check with the National Association of rocketry ( and Tripoli Rocketry Association (

Trotsky - 15-10-2013 at 20:08

That's not gonna be easy, even compared to the massive amounts of work that go into just getting the rocket into space. There have been a handful of amateurs who've gotten rockets to space but none have achieved orbit. You're gonna need to do extensive math. You can't just point it up and put a lot of power before it. At a certain point you have to change course and add significant lateral motion. Iirc this gravity turn usually occurs around 10km, but it might be more. To get even one orbit is gonna require powerful and tiny computers to make these course adjustments. Tiniest icbm? Lol

You're gonna have to do tons of math for your specific rocket regardless. I don't see how you can avoid it, and the probability of success is quite low if you're looking for shortcuts already.

Start looking for hydrazine.

chemrox - 24-10-2013 at 00:54

Rocket%20Manual%20for%20Amateurs%20-%20By%20Capt.%20Bertrand%20R.%20Brinley%20(Ballantine%20Books%20-%201960)%20385s.pdf]rocket manual for amateurs[/url]

Thanks for posting this. Many years ago this book inspired much mischief in my neighborhood. Thanks also for the links. Please notice that the correct link is for some reason the http part didn't link up

[Edited on 24-10-2013 by chemrox]

Wizzard - 24-10-2013 at 04:58

If you'd like to run some 'simulation' check out Kerbal Space Program ( )

But all in all, you'll never get to orbit without liquid propulsion and turbopumps.

Metacelsus - 24-10-2013 at 10:03

LOL, I love that game!:D However, I would advise against using it for real-life simulations.

Weird Idea: Launch a weather balloon with a rocket attached. The balloon will get you up to about 30 km, at which point you can launch the rocket.

Trotsky - 24-10-2013 at 22:55

That's not really a weird idea. Maybe the best way an amatuer has of getting a satellite into orbit. You'll need a large balloon to carry that much weight, and it may be hard to get a good laugh, but with good controls (not sure how well control surfaces will work at that altitude) and electronics to control them, you may be able to make up for the lack of a stable platform.

You're probably going to need liquid fuel regardless. You'll need the ability to make adjustments in flight I assume. You'll have a limited window in which to make changes every revolution. Ideally you'd have a network of shortwave broadcasters around your planned orbit willing and able to allow you to transmit your instructions through their transmitters.

What sort of satellite do you intend to get up there? If it's much bigger than a football or heavier than a pound or two you'll have serious problems. Look at what they did with Sputnik. That's probably a good roadmap.

phlogiston - 25-10-2013 at 05:23

You want to launch a satelite with a homebuilt rocket, but you are not willing to do any engineering because the math is too much work. No offence but you watch too much discovery channel.

I suspect you are too uninformed about this topic that you can't make a realistic estimate of what it would take to accomplish this.

Consider that groups of rocketry enthousiasts around the planet are trying hard to get even somewhat near space. Math is the least of their problems. Even with a large group of semi-professional passionate people working on a project of this magnitude it takes years. And lots of money.

If I were you I would consider paying a commercial launcher that has done all the hard work for you to carry your satelite.
It costs money for a reason.

SM2 - 25-10-2013 at 06:07

Launch from 120,000 hardened baloon. hydrazine to cut down on fuel Wt., n LOX req.

gregxy - 25-10-2013 at 14:11

Here is some info:

The closest that amateur rockets have come is one that reached 77miles altitude, "outer space" but not orbital using NH4ClO4 fuel. To orbit the earth requires about 5X the velocity. "Maybe 4 solid stages launched from a plane at mach 2".

It hasn't been done yet so it must be hard...

phlogiston - 25-10-2013 at 15:03

Maybe you can duplicate the Vanguard rocket from the late 50s. The vanguard 1 satelite launched with it was about 1.5 kg, comparable to a picosatelite. Supposedly (wiki), it could launch as much as 23 kg to low-earth-orbit.

It is 23 meters long and total mass is about 10 metric tonnes. Quite modest and doable if you have a decent property. 3 stages: 1<sup>st</sup> and 2<sup>nd</sup> are liquid/liquid and the 3<sup>rd</sup> solid propellant powered. Hopefully you can simply built it without doing any math.
Especially duplicating the engines exactly, turbopumps and all, might be a bit of a challenge. I don't think you would want to improvise though with what you can find easily because you would need to do math so maybe you can still buy them from General Electric and Aerojet General. Or just eyeball it and hope for the best, ofcourse.

Unfortunately, 8 out of the 11 launches ever attempted failed, so hopefully you can get it to work the first time or you will have to built several of them.

There is a book available detailing its design. Its available from Amazon. I am too lazy to find the link for you, but I am sure you can find it yourself.

Please do report back if you succeed, and be sure to include pictures.

[Edited on 25-10-2013 by phlogiston]

Trotsky - 25-10-2013 at 22:26

Perhaps if you had four large solid state boosters for your first stage to get you the first 10km, through the thickest aspects of the atmosphere, followed by smaller hydrazine-LOX stages to get you into orbit. Isn't 77km high enough to sustain a short period of orbiting before it decays? Obviously it won't work of you shoot it straight up, but if you make the appropriate turn and continue to reach that altitude you should get at least a few revolutions, no?