The J Curve

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Joy of Rockets

A short talk that I gave at TED, under the apt mavericks conference theme:

So many people have contacted me since this video went up to relay how rocketry inspired them in their childhood. Rocket science is tangible.

Here are some recent rocket photos and videos:

Icarus Rocket’s Red Glare Rocket-eye’s View Mile High View Go Canada Space, the Final Frontier L3 Bird Walking on the Moon

Silicon Valley boasts the largest rocketry club in the world. Yet, there is no "legal" launch site anywhere in the Bay Area, a situation that has become endemic across America.

There have been over 500 million Estes rocket launches in the U.S. alone. It's not for safety that rocketry has been pushed out of suburban areas; it's fear of the unknown. Local communities would rather forbid launches in their backyard than think about the systemic effect once all communities do so. This recently happened here, when Livermore shut down the last Silicon Valley site for launches. We are on the search for a new site (DeAnza college used to host sites, and we are currently pitching NASA Ames). If you have a large plot of land and would welcome some excited kids of all ages, please contact us at LUNAR. UPDATE: we succeeded in getting NASA Ames as our low-power launch site. Thanks!!!


  • Inspiring!

    sad we don't have the space here in Belgium to do experiments like that.

    By Blogger Tom Bonte, at 2:41 AM  

  • why launch sites hard to find? well, for one, you have cessnas and pipers to contend with, right? sure, probability and a close visual scan of the sky before launch are powerful risk mitigators, but i'd think it's pretty reasonable for general aviation to be somewhat ambivalent about the prospect of "every backyard a launch site," don't you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 PM  

  • Fast fast fast of rocket.

    By Anonymous nick, at 6:52 AM  

  • Thats so cool... backyard launches could be risky though lol

    By Blogger Michael, at 3:51 PM  

  • Though I never built a rocket of my own, I appreciated the spirit of Homer Hickum when I watched the story of October Sky.

    Seeing what the enthusiasts are creating today ois amazing. I am a dedicated TEDtalks watcher, and I am grateful to see you are a Bay Area Man. I worked the Blockbuster Vuideo at Sequoia Station in the 1990's... I may hbave rented a video to you. LOL

    By Blogger Keith, at 3:20 PM  

  • Cool! really fast!

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