ALTITUDE RECORDS, THE CLUE TREE AND MAPS TO THE CLUE TREE
Altitude attempts in the UK, have to rank as the most controversial subject, and cause of most frustration in UK rocketry circles. Mostly due to ignorance and stupidity.
There are several decent UK rocketry groups (and yes I include the group I am in, MARS, in this list), and these groups have been running in some cases for more than 15 years, building up a huge amount of experience, and quietly setting altitude records in the process. They build on the legacy of UK rocketry groups who have been operating and setting records since the 1930's.
Unfortunately, every few years, new groups or individuals pop up out of nowhere, and claim to be about to break various records, or claim that they are the only group capable of putting a rocket into space etc.
Nothing wrong with this, but.......
There seems to be a correlation between the amount of nonsensical claims made by such new groups or individuals, and the level of their ignorance with regards to the existing UK rocketry community and rocketry in general.
Invariably, they have little clue about rocketry in general, have little idea that the number of High Power and Amateur rocketeers in the UK numbers in the hundreds, are not even aware that there are numerous launch events held in the UK for these rocketeers, have little idea about pre-existing commercially available motors, and have little idea that it is generally a close knit community with most rocketeers in good communications with each other.
If anyone ever reads this, and they fall into this category, please, please;
- Try and make an effort not to insult your peers by thinking you are somehow better than them. The rest of the UK rocketry community is more than happy to help anyone who asks for help, as long as they are not breaking the law.
- Try and learn, and try to read some of the most well known rocketry books,
- Try and come to some of the launch events to get to see what is actually going on (generally, people who have no idea, who then attend some of the launch events, are somewhat more subdued after attending, and realising they're not actually doing anything different to a few hundred others !).
- Try and realise that if you want to be taken seriously, you need to act seriously, and use proper altitude recording equipment, and not make your altitudes up, or claim they are top secret.
- If you have either never heard of High Power Rocket motors such as Aerotech or Cesaroni motors, or you have heard of them, and think you are going to put a rocket into space with them, then you really, really don't understand rocketry anywhere near enough. Anyone who does understand rocketry knows what is and isn't achievable.
- Learn about aerodynamics. The most common fault of all those new additions to the UK rocketry community who think they are going to put a rocket into space, is that they know virtually zero about aerodynamics. All this succeeds in doing, is giving the rest of us a good laugh.
- If you ask a question like "How high is space?", "Where do I get rocket motors from?", "How much does it cost?" or "Where do I launch from?", then you really are not ready to launch a rocket into space. Anyone who is serious will know the answer to these questions, will be aware of the paperwork required for launch compliance, and will have built up experience over the years rather than jumping in and thinking it's simple. If it were that simple, many others would have done it already.
- If you do try and launch rockets at launch events, and have a less than stellar track record in terms of successful flights, or need others to help you launch your rocket, and you then come up to someone like myself, saying you are going to launch a rocket into space, just because we listen politely, doesn't mean we aren't falling about laughing inside.