For those of you near Silicon Valley this weekend, Maker Faire is a cornucopia of geek delights and sights.
And if you want to learn rocketry 101, the local rocket club – LUNAR, which happens to be the largest in America – will be running workshops throughout the weekend where you can build and fly your own rocket. Here is the schedule detail.
In prior years, we demonstrated the construction of some rockets at different scales… and met many interesting people. The first guy that came up to the booth asked a number of questions, and after a while, he casually mentions that he used to work for Wernher von Braun, the pioneering scientist who designed a number of rockets, from the V2 to the Saturn V superbooster that took us to the moon.
If we can rebuild it this evening, my son and I will terrorize the neighbors with his autonomous rocket launching robot:
The runtime program uses various trigger events to move the launch platform, raise the rocket into position (like a slow hydraulic rail, but using gears) and launch it. We are still working on that last part, but I suspect we will use the current from the LED light module to flip a relay to connect a fresh 9V battery to the igniter. And we may need to add the second NXT motor controller for ignition control and a second rocket rail. Should be able to aim in any direction and angle… and ripe with potential mishap.
Here’s the Maker Faire Site for all the details.