Awesome Video: A Rocket Launch and a Very Close Call

This rocket launch from the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) test site near Mojave, Calif., nearly wiped out the remote controlled helicopter sent aloft to film its takeoff. The rocket was launched by Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rocket on December 10. Video used by permission of Paul Breed.

Ironically, the helicopter was severely damaged later in the day in an unrelated crash.

Space Access ’11: Paul Breed

Paul Breed
Unreasonable Rocket

  • Small 3D Printed Motors
  • Used Shapeways Stainless process – $350
    • Numerous problems in production process
  • GPI Prototype – $5,000
    • Began firing attempts in December
    • First full successful run last week
  • Morris Technology DMLS – $5,000
    • aluminum flight weight motor
  • Small GPS Integrated IMU Project
    • About 20 flights
    • GPS units tested could not keep lock during 6 Gs forces
    • Some GPS regained lock later – but when parachute deployed, the GPS was pointed at ground and it lost lock again
  • Partnered with Microcosm to develop peoxide compatible tanks

Belfiore, Boyle and Breed on Space Show this Week


Monday, Nov. 23, 2009, 2-3:30 PM PST: Author Michael Belfiore will discuss his new book, “The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs.”

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009, 7-8:30 PM PST: MSNBC science reporter Alan Boyle will discuss his new book, “The Case For Pluto: How A Little Planet Made A Big Difference.”

Friday, November 27, 2009, 9:30-11:30 AM PST : Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rockets.

Sunday, November 29, 2009, 12-1:30 PM PST. OPEN LINES. All topics are welcome. Host David Livingston will make comments regarding space solar power.

Unreasonable Rocket Ends Quest for Lunar Lander Prize

Reports out of Cantil indicate that Unreasonable Rocket has ended its quest to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. During a test flight using a crane and tether, Unreasonable’s Silver Ball lander oscillated, broke the tether, and fell back onto the launch pad on its side. A leg punctured the fuel tank, damaging the vehicle and preventing another flight attempt on the last day of the competition.


First Unreasonable Rocket Flies Briefly, Tips Over on Side

Unreasonable Rocket’s first and second attempts to launch its Blue Ball lunar lander fizzled today. In both attempts, the vehicle rose briefly off the pad, hovered unevenly, settled back down to the surface, and tipped over on its side.

Company CEO Paul Breed and his son, Paul, have called it a day in order to make repairs to the lander. The company has additional launch windows on Saturday at its site in Cantil, Calif. The first window opens at 10 a.m. PDT.


BonNovA Joins Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge


Several weeks ago, it was announced that a Mystery Team (pictured above, in stock photo) had become the fourth group to join the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

Today, the identity of said team was revealed on The Launch Pad :

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge continues to heat up, with a FOURTH competitor now officially entered in the race for the remaining purses. Team BonNovA, stationed in Mojave, CA, will be flying their Lauryad I & II vehicles on October 26-27, 2009 at Cantil, CA. We are definitely excited to see what they have in store for the competition.


New Team to Enter Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge


The NASAPrize Twitter account indicates that another team will be attempting to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge:

there will be yet another team in the running for lunar lander challenge – to be announced soon

There are three teams vying for the prize: Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, and Unreasonable Rocket. Teams have until the end of October to complete flights.

Armadillo Aerospace has already claimed $350,000 for winning first place in Level One of the competition. An additional $150,000 prize is available for second place at that level. An additional $1 million is available to the winner of Level 2 and $500,000 for the runner up.

The competition, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges, is focused on developing lunar lander vehicles that can fly between launch and landing pads. The effort is managed by the X PRIZE Foundation.

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Launch Attempts Set



The X PRIZE Foundation announced today that three teams have registered to make attempts to win the $1.65 million still available in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.  The teams include:

* Armadillo Aerospace will attempt to claim a Level 2 purse from Caddo Mills, TX, on September 12 and 13.
* Masten Space Systems will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Mojave, CA, on September 15-16 (Level One), October 7-8 (Level Two), and October 28-29 (Level Two).
* Unreasonable Rocket will attempt to claim purses in both levels from Cantil, CA, on Oct 30-31.


Update on Unreasonable Rocket

An update from Paul Breed on the testing of his Unreasonable Rocket engine:

We went out to FAR and tested our H2O2 and Kerosene regen Motor.We ran it in Mon0-prop mode then in Bi-prop mode. It took a awhile to light in bi-prop mode, but We ran to about 80% throttle without damage in biprop mode. The Video does not really do it justice as it seems to have “sampling” effects. The Monolithic cat pack is clearly not getting good decomposition, probably leading to slow ignition. We need to rework the system test software so we can independently vary the proportions rather than have a fixed schedule. I have not yet reduced the data, but I’ll do that in the next 24 hours and post the result.

It was a long day and when we packed up we failed to notice a melted spot on one of the vehicle tie down straps and being tired we did not double up as we usually do. So the front strap failed and the vehicle left the truck on the dirt road leaving FAR. The road is really rough and we were going about 40mph, we did not notice the vehicle depart. We noticed it was gone and had to drive back 1.5 miles to find it. Other than a cracked mounting tab and broken fitting on top of two the small stainless spheres it was largely undamaged. We were lucky.

Read more on Paul’s blog.

Space Access ’08 Conference Set for March 27-29

The lineup for Space Access ’08 in Phoenix has been released. The event, to be held at the Best Western Grace Inn,, will feature Jim Muncy of PoliSpace; Misuzu Onuki, of Rocketplane LLC; Jon Goff; Dallas Bienhoff; Frank Zegler; Henry Spencer; and Rand Simberg.

Among the companies and government agencies confirmed include: Armadillo Aerospace, FAA AST, Flometrics, Frontier Astronautics, Masten Space, Space Studies Institute; SpeedUp, Unreasonable Rocket, and XCOR Aerospace.

For more details, visit the Space Access Society website.