CATO

Photo Synthesis

Category archives for CATO

Rockets Gone Wild

The pop of a supersonic shred, scattering fins below… and the beginning of a sparky spiral dance in the sky… Here’s a rare catch of a fleeting midair moment – the forward retention for the solid-fuel motor has failed and so it thusts forward up through the rocket, pushing the parachute and nose cone out…

Spinners

Near the ground we call them land sharks: My rocket buddy Erik and I have developed a knack for spotting a likely train wreck in the sky. There was a certain lack of craftsmanship in this Sonotube build that cued us to be ready with the camera: I just held the motor drive down for…

Big Bada Boom

Ka-pow. Bing, Bam, Boom. For launch shots, I shoot with timing priority at 1/3000 seconds or faster to catch the action. This helps freeze the shrapnel in sharp focus. Typically, I am tracking the rocket by hand with a 400mm zoom. Rockets bursting in air… In this example, a home-brew motor mixed with 8 pounds…

The Beauty of Night Rockets

The long exposure presents all kinds of interesting visuals, from simple Estes propellant grains showering down… …to the errant path of an unstable rocket: Here’s another example of an unstable flight followed by the fiery forward spray of a motor closure failure under pressure: And different propellant grains provide wonderful lighting: And of course, all…

Persistence

Gene Nowaczyk is aiming for the big prize – a successful launch to 100,000 ft. After 50 hours/week over two years, he drove his custom airframe from Missouri in a huge truck. Here is prepping the upper section, packed with electronics. He put an incredible amount of work and craftsmanship into this machined metal rocket.…

Memorial Day Memorabilia

A pair of Army scale rockets line up in the desert… Five sparky research motors clustered together (four M’s and an O) in the Little John give quite a show: and then a another Deep sub-woofer blastoff with a cluster of five AMW motors. Jack’s Nike Smoke is 19 ft. tall, and 422 lbs. (lots…

Hybrid Rocket Hijinks

It was hot at the Dairy Aire launch this weekend. 103°F, with cows. What weather forecast is that? The cattle packed into the nearby Harris Ranch pens literally create local fog as they sweat into dusk. Mix with a little methane, and you get Dairy Aire. Here was one of my favorite shots… 2.25 seconds…

The Joy of Rockets

I was asked to give a three minute talk at the TED conference to try to convey some of the excitement about the hobby. I should have just quoted Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen: “In terms of sheer coolness, few things beat rocketry.” Instead, I put together a photo montage, and commented on the stream: The…

Night Launch CATO

I’ll be launching this rocket again on Saturday… well, the upper half of it, which survived unscathed from this dramatic motor rupture a half-mile up in the moonlit sky of the Black Rock Desert: I just love night launches as you can get a time-lapse capture of the entire rocket flight, especially when something goes…