View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Thu Sep 2nd, 2010 08:25 am
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Hellcat
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Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
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I can't watch the movie without thinking fondly of my senior year of high school. Back then I had a regular subscription to the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine. The Feb/March 1995 edition had an article by Homer Hickam about the Big Creek Missile Agency and their attempts to build rockets. At the time my school had an elective science course that gave me a little too much free reign that was called Science, Technology, and Society. Basically was supposed to allow students to explore various forms of science and technology and their effects on society, and vice versa, though it really wasn't very well structured.

At the time I was looking into aerodynamics and the article gave me a crazy idea. Hickman talked about a demonstration his teacher had given the class on rapid oxidation which he and his friends saw as a means of rocket propellant. Fortunately for me he gave the ingredients used and the amounts, which proved unfortunate for a poor petri/mixing dish. I got the idea to try making a rocket plane, which my teacher too readily agreed to mainly because he wanted us to produce these awe inspiring projects. Got to expiriment with a pretty pink flame, trying to find the right burn rate. Then once I had what I thought was the right burn rate I tried making a poster board nozzle, figuring it'd naturally burn away but I'd at least get an idea how well it might work. I've no clue what happened exactly, why it didn't burn  like I expected, but the nozzle was still largely intact. However, it must have produced a very small amount of thrust which combined with the heat cause the dish was split in two.

Nothing really came of the experiments save for a rather useless rocket motor that couldn't even ignite. But when I saw the commercials for the first time years later all I could think of was that dish. Same thing whenever I see the movie.

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