KMA - MrKlingon's Missle Agency

Monday, January 18, 2010

SS Tomorrowland!

For Christmas, my daughter made this rocket - and I finally got around to launching it today:

(sadly, there is not a lot of wisdom in launching a white-on-white rocket in January.... so recovery was not an option... I'll just assume it is sailing off somewhere beyond the sky.)

posted by Joel 10:23 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Launching into space... with Star Wars!

posted by Joel 8:23 PM

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Those air rockets are FAST!

posted by Joel 6:41 AM

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Swedes Into Space!

Here's a family gathering launching Air Rockets! Fun!

Click here to see the video
or the full version here.

posted by Joel 8:17 PM

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Rocket Fun!

Googling around and I found a terrific rocket simulator/design tool at NASA!

This amazing thing does simple ballistic, water, and solid engine rockets. Even better - it does AIR ROCKETS! (pictured). This will come in handy! (I'm planning on having some fun this weekend launching air rockets at a family gathering.)

posted by Joel 11:32 AM

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wow - Rocket-palooza!

I had a blast launching 4 different Estes rockets at the field with some neighbor kids for their Science club (really). And they got to launch the air-rockets dozens and dozens of times - great fun!

posted by Joel 8:52 PM

Monday, August 06, 2007

TOO LONG since a posting. But here's a new one: AIR ROCKETS!!!

I'm going to show off model rockets for some neighbor kids this week, and I built one of these to show off - almost free rockets that you can blast off.

I tested it indoors (big mistake) then had to work to clean the smudge off the ceiling. These are more powerful and fast than you'd expect. Out doors it disappeared (almost) higher than the trees. After two launches it was lost in the trees. No matter - a little paper and tape and I've got two more ready for flight.

posted by Joel 7:10 PM

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Taking a day off - off-PLANET!!

These are two home built rockets, the one from my daughter's science-fair career, and the other a conversion of a paper model of the LibertyBell 7 Mercury Redstone.

Both recovered without difficulty - good to go for another day!

posted by Joel 12:47 PM

Monday, May 29, 2006

BACK into space!

For some Memorial Day fun, we launched a rocket!
(well, I thought it was fun, anyway.)

posted by Joel 10:37 AM

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Taking the bus to Mars!

Sometimes you can go interplanetary for a mere $1.25 bus fare(plus museum admission).

Just this week the Science Museum of Minnesota has opened a new movie - "Mars 3D" produced locally by Twist Films of Minneapolis. It gives you a ringside seat at the launch of the rovers, and 3D images captured by the rovers' cameras on the surface of Mars - pretty impressive stuff - worth the bus ride downtown!

What do you get for the price of admission? A trip to Mars in 20 minutes!

  • Good launch movies - one day and one night.
  • Great video ON BOARD LAUNCH (Thanks to RocketCam!)
  • A chance to see the scientists and their familes cheering, and
  • Great (and tense) moments in mission control at the crucial points of the mission
  • Good integration of simulations and on earth video of the landers.
  • Great use of the real 3D videos from Mars - in real color, not relying on red/blue glasses.

posted by Joel 4:54 PM

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Off into the Sky!!

A quick couple of launches!

Two for two - two good launches and two good landings - a perfect day for a launch!

Only two mishaps. 1) On the second flight, the launch button was stuck down, so when I inserted the safety switch....whoooooosh! instant launch. (I've fixed THAT!) and 2) I dropped the pen cam on the way home. It still works fine, but the LCD screen for controls is unreadable. I may look for a replacement, but it will still work for my needs.....

posted by Joel 10:00 AM

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Any Day Above Ground is a Good One

We had perfect July launching weather! (maybe some kind of celebration of the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11?) My daughter humored me (reliving science fair projects of days gone by?) and we took a couple of rockets down to the old launching field and went 3-for-3 - three good launches and three perfect recoveries.

Getting ready to launch

Sailing back to Terra!

posted by Joel 2:23 PM

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Testing... 1, 2, 3

Weird... I keep trying to post on my 7/5/2004 launch and it doesn't show up.

Went to the hobby shop today and replenished the rocket supply. "B"s are about right for the bigger rockets, so they don't go too high, or to low.....

Two packs of B6-2s and some spare igniters.

posted by Joel 1:49 PM

In the Spirit of Independance! (repost)

Independance Day +1 and I celebrated independance from gravity with launches of not 1, not 2, but THREE rockets!

I launched the Cobra, though with an A8-3; far too underpowered. It was an okay flight but it was already on its way down when the recovery charge popped. So it pretty much nose-dived - though all parts recovered well.

Then I launched the Apollo "Saturnesque" Rocket

with an angle into the wind (there was abit of a breeze today), and didn't spare the horses - I used a "C" engine, and it paid off. Nice high flight, peaking over the field (almost to HealthPartners) but the wind drift landed both pieces in the center of the football field. The nosecone parachute was shredded, but that worked to create streamer recovery that seemed okay.

Before and after this, I launched (multiple times) the newest entry in my fleet, the USS Spirit of Independance - emphasis on "spirit" as in wind. This is a pneumatic rocket, made of foam.

Launched easily, and landed nicely. Fun! There is something about rocket flight that just lifts the spirit - mine anyway!

posted by Joel 1:45 PM

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Flight Data
According to Wrasp:

According to CR4d 2.0:

203 feet according to Wrasp, or 184.71 database, or 135 "mathematical".

Max speed 110 FPS (Mach .1).

posted by Joel 5:31 PM


A long dry spell, and the first two, completly successful launches of an Estes kit. It has the nice plastic assembly for the launch lugs and engine holder. Simple to make, and pretty solid. The "story" is that it is an experimental satellite launch vehicle, and includes two sats with streamers. Looked nice in the sky , too.:

First launch

Second launch

All recovered without incident.

posted by Joel 10:04 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Today would have been an almost perfect launch day.... temp in the 40's, clear sky, no wind...

But 1) I was lazy, and 2) the warm weather made it a bit wet and sloppy. Might have been hard on the rockets. Maybe next weekend I'll get in a launch.

Meanwhile, I study the moon. Thanks to my MOONSTICK

posted by Joel 8:35 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Like since forever... Nothing much to write. Okay - here is something to think about:

Some discussion with friends/colleagues regarding the project. I'm thinking zip-zap type cars for the "rover".
The trick is meeting the criteria of

1) 185 feet altitude

2) navigating to 100 feet from launch area.

Stats I find for the zip-zap suggest it can hold a charge for 5 minutes, and go... 45 feet. So the landing has to be in a 45 foot radius from the target. Not impossible, but tricky.

posted by Joel 7:15 PM

Sunday, October 12, 2003

R2D2 flies again!

Well, October will not be missed. I went down to the field on the 11th to launch the Cobra and R2D2. The Cobra turned out to be unflyable - the launch lug came off, then it turned out the propeller blades had come off; back to the shop with it.

I flew R2 twice with underpowered engines (1/2 At's). Should have been full A's, since it just popped up, and bounced off the ground (not high enough for parachute deployment.) Meanwhile I've build a new mini-Meanie (AKA "Pascal's Wager") to fly again for November!

posted by Joel 6:32 AM

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Simulation for September
Well, you can't launch every month - too much going on. I loaded up a simulated Mercury Redstone 9/30 and at least had one "flight" for the month:

No, not a real flight... but something, anyway. Back to the slide rule hacking....

posted by Joel 9:00 AM

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Three for Three

Once more, I managed a good ratio. Apollo and R2D2, AND a first launch for the Delta Clipper. That was a little iffy, as it spiraled up on its flight. But landed well.

This was a three-fer, in that I did
  • an A (R2D2)
  • a B (Apollo) and
  • a C (The DCX Clipper model).

image above an artist's impression of the DCX launch

posted by Joel 4:50 PM

Friday, July 04, 2003

Independence Day!

Three Good Flights! Three Good Landings! The best ratio!

One launch of my new rocket "Apollo" and two launches of the flying R2D2 model, which is cute! I'm set for this month, so now I can think about designing something new for a later July flight or August launches!

posted by Joel 7:01 PM

Monday, June 30, 2003


Last day of June, and a great day to fly!

posted by Joel 8:18 PM

Monday, May 26, 2003

The Apollo
This is the Quest "Apollo" shown taking off in the earlier picture:

posted by Joel 2:04 PM

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Memoriable Day Launch
Launched my quick-build Quest "Apollo" today :

up, up and away....

posted by Joel 6:06 PM

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Two-Fer Weekend!
Now, I expect this week will be unusual with two separate launch days. I'm being tame, too, aiming at one launch PER MONTH in this round for 2003. Here's a reprise photo to represent today's launch (as was yesterday's picture of the Cobra):

Another great May day - and I launched my Freedom 7 (above) as well as a mini-X-Ray. I even included a payload! TWO payloads, one a C3P0 model and the other a dandelion blossom. Two excellent launches and two great recoveries. (1/A t in the Mercury, and an At in the X-ray.) I'll have to reattach the X-Ray nose cone (it keeps coming off) or make it a separate payload recovery system...

posted by Joel 1:36 PM

Friday, May 16, 2003

First launch since November!
Norris and I just went down to the field, this perfect May night and launched the Cobra again:


Two beautiful launches (B-6-4 and B-4-2, if anyone cares). Perfect launch and recovery both times. Just at dusk so the sky was blue but the rocket burned bright - wonderful!

posted by Joel 7:40 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Aiming to launch

If all goes well, I'll launch *something* Saturday, 5/17. Here's hoping.

posted by Joel 6:09 AM

Friday, March 14, 2003

Where is MrKlingon'sSpaceship?

Right *Here*

posted by Joel 7:32 AM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Just flew back from a Space Station...

... and are my arms tired? Well, no - though it was a white-knuckle "flight" out to the Imax theater at the Minnesota Zoo since we just got around 6 inches of snow.

A neighbor got free tickets to the Space Station 3D Imax show, and Liv and I went with her and her daughter. Great show - incredible use of 3D, letting you tour the station and watch its first pieces get put together. A very impressive show. It included a VERY close up launch of a Russian piece of the station, and shots of Soyuz and Shuttle launches.

It was inspiring to see this international effort of cooperation, and to look down on the earth and see (as one of the cosmonauts noted) that there are no borders when you look at our world from space. Might make you want to take off today

posted by Joel 1:10 PM

Friday, February 28, 2003

From "The Planetary Report" January/February 2003.

"Bridging the Gap: A Discussion with Freeman Dyson"

(interesting discussion about the ways and means of interstellar
travel. I like the end where Dyson gives an opinion about robots
versus astronauts)
Bruce Murray: I have one last point. We've been thinking about humans
migrating, and adapting in some form, to other worlds in this solar
system at least. There's an alternative possibility: to stay here and
send only sensors and surrogates elsewhere. I'm wondering, in the 30
to 40 years since you first began fantasizing about some thse things,
how do you feel about this alternative vision?

Freeman Dyson: Well, I detest it. It's quite possible that if we
decide to go that way, I will become a rebel and go off in my little
spaceship and leave everybody else behind. So, I hope we'll all be
rebels when the time comes.

Louis Friedman: so, you won't be satisfied sitting in some room with
a hologram of data pouring in?

Freeman: No. I will have lost any freedom that I may have had. It's
a matter of taste, of course, but I hope there will always be people
who rebel against that kind of thing.

Bruce: But it's so much easier to live here than elsewhere.

Lou: None of us, to quote John F. Kennedy, is "doing this because
it's easy, but becuse it's difficult."

posted by Joel 9:43 PM

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Every landing you walk away from is a good one

Not my best landing, but still okay....

posted by Joel 8:53 PM

Friday, February 21, 2003


A definite work in progress - but lots of fun:

Riding high in my Mercury:

AND.. planning to get some engines and something real to fly.....

posted by Joel 8:28 PM

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Looking for constructive things to do, launch

Dipping into Jerry Pournelle's website for things to think about in the wake of Columbia's loss.... I'm going to make a VB program to handle the "back of the envelope" calculations in his SSX paper, i.e. delta-vee = c * ln (M0/M1)...

posted by Joel 10:14 AM


The other day put up a link to my Columbia artwork. This morning I received this email:

Mr. Anderson,

I was reading about the Shuttle Columbia tragedy on, and found a link to your artwork "Lift". I'm going to print out the poster and put it up at work.

I work at United Space Alliance in Houston. My project is the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade.
for more information.

I grew up in MN and graduated from the U of MN in 1992, with a B.S. in physics. After working for 8 years in Wisconsin on commercial avionics software verification, I moved with my family to Houston for the sole reason of being involved with the space program. I saw from some of your links that you might be a U of MN graduate.

Those of us in the NASA family are still mourning our loss. Your poster is inspiring to me, and I think it will be to others as well.

Thanks again for your artwork.

posted by Joel 10:12 AM

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Anniversary Launch!

Today I launched the Mercury Redstone again - one year after its first launch. Great launch, and good landing.... except it lost a fin someplace. I should be able to fly it again - though I do get nervous about recovery.

Also relaunched the Cosmic cobra - perfect launch AND landing. This time the nosecone flipped over and came down as I'd expected, nose cone below the blades..very cool.


Reprise photo, a launch of the Cobra!

posted by Joel 12:30 PM

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Celestia Link

posted by Joel 10:18 AM

Nothing much new... except I've gone to Mars!!!

Well, in spirit if nothing else...

See if you want to see the sights!

Taking Mercury to Mars! 10/26/2002!!

(click on picture to see a larger picture)

posted by Joel 9:20 AM

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Note: My picture was submitted as an entry in "Computer Generated Art" at the Minnesota State Fair!

posted by Joel 1:00 PM

Long time, not flights....
Been enjoying the films of "From the Earth to the Moon" - which has a fabulous depiction of Shepherd's Mercury-Redstone flight. Also Project Orion (great book!).

Recent simulated flight - my Mercury simulator
stats from my Mercury simulator

my Mercury simulator

posted by Joel 12:57 PM

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Mercury Launch 7/28/2002

I neglected to mention: Sunday also included a launch of the paper Mercury-Redstone. Just keeping the record straight. I gotta build a launchable paper Mercury-Atlas.

posted by Joel 10:10 AM

Monday, July 29, 2002

Nosecone Landing
I really liked this unexpected landing, it achieved my goal of takeoff and landing of a payload in the same orienation... granted the payload (if there was one in the nosecone) would be spun a bit...

What I expected:

------------ ---
++ ----
+--++--+ ----
| | ---
| | ----
| | --
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
How it REALLY worked:

| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
/ \ | |
/ \ | |
\ |+-----+|
\ | |
\ | |
\ | |
\| |
\| |
\ |
-- ------
-- ------ --
-- ----- --
--- ------ --
-- ---

|_) /\ |\/| /\
|_)/--\| |/--\

posted by Joel 9:40 AM

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Launch of the COSMIC COBRA

getting ready to launch; click for bigger picture
Very cool - I finally launched the "Cosmic Cobra", a simple Estes kit, that has helicopter recovery for the nosecone. Sad to say we didn't get a good shot of the nosecone coming in for a landing. I was surprised because it came down with the blades BELOW the nose cone, which was upright.

My daughter got a great shot of the launch though:

posted by Joel 1:53 PM

Quick note: last week 7/20 was another muscle powered launch - flinging the skyrockets high into the sky.

posted by Joel 1:37 PM

Saturday, July 13, 2002

ALT = (.5 * flight time)^2 * 1/2g

g = 32.2 feet per second per second
g =~ 10 meters per second per second.

posted by Joel 5:20 PM

No Highways in the Sky

Flying a rocket requires... math. There aren't any highways, no street signs, no stop signs. It takes math to know where your are going and where you've been. Using a little simple rocket boy math... here is something you can do - a quick fun way to calculate your altitude of a simple ballistic projectile going straight up and down.

1) I launched two "SkyRocket" toy missles, launched with rubber bands.

2) Noting the time each flight took in seconds I calculated the altitude of each flight.

3) Assume
* Each flight took the same time, going UP, and down
* 1/2 the flight time is the time it took from the peak to the ground
* Ignoring drag, this means the altitude is:

/ 2 \
| / t \ |
| | - | g |
\ \ 2 / /

g = 32.2 feet per second per second
g =~ 10 meters per second per second

4) this means my flights were as follows (time in seconds, altitude in feet)

Big "rocket" 5 100.625
5 100.625
6 144.9
6 144.9

Small "rocket" 7 197.225
6 144.9
9 326.025
9 326.025

posted by Joel 5:17 PM

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Diagrams constructed using "Email Effects" program:

|_) /\ |\/| /\
|_)/--\| |/--\
pin matchstick missle specifications


paper match

| | | |

aluminum foil
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |

lay pin on match, wrap foil around head, then remove
pin, leaving a channel
\\\\ of space behind.
\\ \\\\\\\\\\\\\
\ \\---
|-------------- ----
+---------------------///----\\\ ----
| | | | // ---
+---------------------\\\----/// /
\\\ \
\ \\
\ \\
\\\ \\
\\\ \\

place rocket on paperclip launcher, and
hold lit match underneath to
______, ignite.
| | |
+----------------+---- ----

See "Backyard Ballistics" for more information

posted by Joel 8:36 AM

Friday, July 05, 2002

Backyard Missles

More launches today... backyard missles constructed of paper matches + aluminum foil - easy to make!
and reasonably safe, if you don't burn your fingers!

posted by Joel 1:39 PM

Backyard Missles

More launches today... backyard missles constructed of paper matches + aluminum foil - easy to make!
and reasonably safe, if you don't burn your fingers!

posted by Joel 1:39 PM

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Notes on reality:
The artist's rendition (below) of my rocket launch today, July 4th 2002, is actually a photo. It is a REAL image, or more accurately an image composed of real elements.

1) The rocket is a real, flying craft that I built - it has flown twice so far, and will certainly fly again

2) The stars are REAL stars - an astronomical image gathered on the web

3) Likewise I found a nice NASA photo of Earth from space, and finally,

4) I found a picture of Apollo 6, an unmanned test flight, done just before Schirra's last flight in Apollo7, and "borrowed" the rocket fire image.

Using a few tools I put all these elements - real elements into the picture below. Yes, it is imaginary, but founded on reality, the way all the best stories are....

posted by Joel 8:23 PM

A perfect day - Independance Day 2002 and one quick launch of the rebuilt Pascal's Wager. Here's an artist's rendition of the launch:

into the stars! Independant of gravity!

posted by Joel 8:45 AM

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Flying AGAIN!
A 90+ degree day here in Minnesota, and I'm sticking with my goal of flying a rocket every week this summer. I suspect that I'll eventually be stretching this to an AVERAGE, that is counting the fact that today, and my first week, I launched two DIFFERENT rockets will count as AT LEAST one rocket launched each week.

Anyway, today I launched the Freedom 7 II again - it launches well, but splits apart almost immediately. Still it recovers fine and is ready to launch again. Here it is, taking off: Freedom FLIES again!.

The other rocket, technically called the "Mini Meanie" or something, but what I call "Pascal's Wager" launched fine... but... it split apart and needs to be rebuilt. I didn't get a picture of the launch, but here it is (sort of) with me (sort of) in front of my house:

Ready to FLY!.

posted by Joel 4:47 PM

Monday, June 24, 2002

Plans, continued...

| / '. |
| ,''''' |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| |____| |
| | | ^ recovery charge |
| | | /| \ separates sections |
| |__| | two sections tumble |
| `'' | for recovery. |
| |
| '''''| |
| || | |
|aunch || | |
|lug || | ,''''i''''''''''''''''''''''''| |
| '| | | | |__ __ _ _ __ __ _ | |
| | | | | '_ \/ _` | ' \/ _` | | |
| | | | |_.__/\__,_|_|_|_\__,_| | |
| | | | | |
| ,-'| +-..._ | Mercury-Redstone Refit | |
| +' | | | `-----------------------------' |
| ...---:''| ---..| |
| | | _engine slides in |
| | | ''''' |

posted by Joel 12:51 PM

Ship Plans:

| | |
| || |
| || |
| || __ |
| / | _,..---''' capsule |
| / '. and escape rocket |
| ,''''' glued together |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
| | | Bulkhead added |
| | | and two tubes fit |
| '''''| ----'''''together with inner |
| || | cylinder |
|aunch || | |
|lug || | ,''''i''''''''''''''''''''''''| |
| '| | | | |__ __ _ _ __ __ _ | |
| | | | | '_ \/ _` | ' \/ _` | | |
| | | | |_.__/\__,_|_|_|_\__,_| | |
| | | | | |
| ,-'| +-..._ | Mercury-Redstone Refit | |
| +' | | | `-----------------------------' |
| ...---:''| ---..| |
| | | _engine slides in |
| | | ''''' |

posted by Joel 9:00 AM

Sunday, June 23, 2002

To see more pictures of the latest addition to MrKlingon's space fleet.

posted by Joel 8:36 PM

New launch paper model adapted to real flight!

posted by Joel 8:33 PM

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Rockets flown this week:

  • the "Jinx" ready-to-fly Estes model - recovered intact (though with a bent, but reparable fin)
  • ... I forget the name, but a home built kit, with a weighted nose cone. Using a C engine it sailed out of sight, never to return

    posted by Joel 8:15 PM

  • A touching essay:

    The Fourth Flight is Forever: A Father's Day essay
    Thomas Sullivan

    Published Jun 15, 2002
    We set our rocket launcher at a conjunction of left and right fields. For just an hour we will own the Earth and sky. "We" is another conjunction. Age and youth. Between us, there is still the magic of father and son. He is 9, blond and blue-eyed, a crier of delights. I love him profoundly.

    "Let's use the big engine, OK, Dad?" he asks hopefully.

    The directions say to use the small engine for the first flight, but he has not yet given up trying to unseat me from my dead-in-the-water resignation to the dictums of life.

    "A8-3, pal."


    posted by Joel 9:12 AM

    REPOST from - The start of the Buford Avenue Missle Agency Summer 2002 project

    Perfect Night to Blast Off

    No question, last night was a great night - no a perfect night for a launch. We were out walking the dog, and I could see that the flags were hanging straight down, the sky was clear, as was the missle field (baseball diamond) by our house.

    I was ready to go by myself, but when I mentioned it to my daughter she said sure! So, we grabbed two pre-packed rockets (unlaunched from last year's science fair project). One was a B the other a C(yikes!). This lead to two beautiful launches.... sadly it only lead to one landing.... but there were no crashes, screams, sirens so I assume the C engine rocket rests on a roof top or in a tree somewhere....

    posted by Joel 9:09 AM

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