The Sputnik 1

The October Monroe launch was the day after the 40th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth.  In honor, SeaNAR had voted to build and fly Sputnik oddroc models at this launch.  Unfortunately, life intervened; as of a week before the launch, I was the only one without some progress.  On the day of the launch, I was the only one who brought a Sputnik.

The day before, I went to a craft store and Eagle hardware, and bought some dowels, a large foam ball, and a small foam ball.  I drilled a hole through the center of the large ball (6" diameter) -- a tricky operation that didn't work as well as I'd hoped; the drill took huge gouges out of the open-cell craft foam, but I eventually got a hole I could mount a BT-50 into.  I then installed the tube, with launch lug alongside it, put a thrust block into the tube, and modified the small foam ball to act as a nose cone -- I cut a shoulder into it to fit into the mouth of the tube, then glued in a string as a shock cord mount.  The shock cord in the motor mount tube was simply glued to the tube wall with medium CA -- like a simple LOC style mount for HPR.  Once the small foam ball had a shoulder, I mounted it into the mouth of the motor tube, and sanded it off flush with the surface of the big ball.  Finally, I installed four 1/4" dowels, three feet long, sharpened and pushed into the foam at 20 degrees from parallel with the motor mount, then pulled from their holes, glue squirted in, and reinserted.  I finished up and set the model aside to let the glue dry at about 2:00 AM, with my alarm set for 8:30 to get up and to the launch on time -- but finish it I did.  B)

The end result, at this stage, doesn't look much like a scale Sputnik, I'm afraid, unless your haven't seen a decent picture recently, but it has some of the same feel to it.  The main thing is, it flies well.  On a D12-3, it goes much higher than I had expected, actually coasting well enough to need the 3-second delay before ejecting the 12" parachute.  The rocket is so light that that size 'chute returns it to Earth slowly enough not to break the dowels, though I found on the first flight that craft foam doesn't stand up to ejection charges well at all -- I need to find a way to protect the foam around the mouth of the tube when the ejection fires, to keep from having a huge crater on the forward side of the sphere; then I'll use the can of spray gesso I bought with the foam ball to fill and seal the foam before spraying the entire oddroc silver.  Should look considerably better then...  B)

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