[SS2S-Main] Re: Changes to SS2S; Moving forward in our pursuit of reaching Space on the power of Sugar...

  • From: "flint hapirat" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "flinthapirat@xxxxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: "sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:18:00 -0700

Hi All, 

Well written letter Cliff, I fully support your points (sadly, this leaves me 
very little to add, but please bare with me:).

Personally (yes, yes, I know it's naive) I expected to see the SSTS go in 2-3 
years after the first goal declaration. It's amazing that ten years have passed 
so fast... yet this group has led the sugar propellant and large scale sugar 
rockets research with great achievements during this time, as it will in the 
future. I still am very sure we can do this - we can launch a candy rocket into 
space. I know we still have a LOT of problems waiting to be solved but I'm sure 
it can be done as we have the right kind of people in this group to live this 
dream and make it true.

I personally feel sad Richard is leaving the group leading, as well as Chris 
King leaving the Avionics group. I truly hope Hans will not leave the SSTS. 

Richard - on a personal note, I'm very happy you are still staying in the 
group. I also hope Chris will still be with us. 
That being said, I'm also confident Rick will do a wonderful job leading this 
group towards it's goal. 

In my point of view, this goal will require - as Richard and Cliff both pointed 
out - the help and dedication of each team member. In my point of view that 
means every SSTS member, not just the "active group" that formed in the past 
few years. As Richard and Cliff pointed out there are many highly skilled, 
smart people, ney - experts in this rocketry group. We can use your help guys - 
we just need to be fully committed. 

But there are two sides to this coin. A committed group needs the leaders to 
listen not just lead. I also felt, like Cliff, the "active group" tends to 
listen only to internal ideas instead of hearing out, testing, experimenting 
and generally discussing/tinkering with some of the "other members" ideas. I 
have no doubt that being so devoted and active in such a project does give you 
a better view of the problems, possible solutions and in general a birds eye 
view (rocket cam?) of the path ahead... but still I think that we had many 
possibly good ideas tossed here and there that were generally ignored or 
desregarded. This is something we need to avoid, in my opinion. 

But committing to do build/test/etc is not the only thing we need - I also 
agree with Cliff about the personal skills usage and monthly funding. This 
should be a funded group so the cash flow won't delay us too long. This will 
also promote investments in the group as it will shorten the time it will take 
us to reach every goal, showing dedication of the entire group to the goal. 

Please comment guys. 


> From: Cliff Bates <cliff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2014 10:36 AM
>Subject: [SS2S-Main] Re: Changes to SS2S; Moving forward in our pursuit of 
>reaching Space on the power of Sugar...
>    Richard,........I can't think of ANYONE who has advanced amateur 
>rocketry as much as you have.  And I mean that quite literally.  Hardly a 
>stone is unturn in amateur rocketry without a paper of some type being 
>written on it by yourself.  What has always impressed me was the willingness 
>to share your designs, results, and thoughts on the subject.  That's kind of 
>rare today, more than a little bit.  Nakka in the amateur rocketry world is 
>right up there with Von Braun.
>    I first recall contacting you about 14 years ago as I was interested in 
>a booster for a ramjet engine I was designing at the time.  I might add that 
>that engine diffuser design was CFD tested by a NASA contractor to keep his 
>super computer busy during a downtime as a courtesy to me.  And the design 
>worked at Mach 2.5 rather well.
>    I have never built it.  However ramjets (solid fuel) may offer a much 
>cheaper and over all less complicated method for amateur rocketry to reach 
>very high altitudes.  I'm not suggesting that this be done by the SS2S 
>group, but it should be considered by amateur rocketry in general as a 
>alternative to pure rockets.
>    It was explored in the 1960's as a method of making cheaper sounding 
>rockets, (where I got the idea), but was pushed aside by the rocket 
>manufactures who had a considerable investment tied up in rocket contracts 
>at that time in the "Space Race", and weren't looking for any competition. 
>However the idea at the time was a 2.75" solid fueled ramjet, boosted to 
>design speed by a little 2.75" air to ground rocket.  Max altitude of this 
>combination was 120,000 ft.  After which it suddenly lost funding.
>    The thing to keep in mind concerning ramjets is that they have fuel 
>efficiency of 6 to 7 times that of sugar propellants, and are exceeding 
>fast.  With the current record being 4000 mph.
>    With that I'll end the ramjet lobbying.
>    Over those 14 years I have watched, sometimes in wonder, as Richard 
>untirelessly and unswervingly not only set the example of how to do 
>rocketry, but also generated interest and ideas into others to expand on his 
>work.  Never did I see any grand standing, or, "I did this".  It was just 
>    I don't think the SS2S idea was a waste at all.  I think it was 
>perfectly within range of the group.  However about 3 years ago I noticed a 
>fracturing of the SS2S into a group who kind of disregarded the rest of the 
>world that was watching and was donating to support the project.  The 
>forwarding of "Why" something was being done, or not being done was kind of 
>forgotten, as well as the results of the teleconferences discussions.  To 
>this day I really don't know where we are on much of the project is.  And I 
>believe several errors were made that could have been caught before hand if 
>a wider discussion was involved in the process.
>    Admittedly, outside comment and Monday morning quarter backing can get 
>completely out of hand, especially putting up with it on the pay scale those 
>doing the SS2S actual work are being paid, zero.  However, if a project is 
>lined out, (as it very often is in excellent detail), then if a change is 
>made for whatever reason, it should be acknowledged to the "entire" SS2S 
>group.  Any non comment on the change then becomes acceptance of the design. 
>Any supported concerns expressed should be looked at more closely.  This is 
>everybody's project, not just a few in the know.
>    This I think can cause some complexity, but if done correctly, by using 
>copy and paste of already expressed ideas in emails, with a more detailed 
>outline of discussions of those handling the construction, it would not only 
>broaden the scope of catching errors, or improving some aspect, but also 
>"INDIVIDUAL INTEREST IN THE PROJECT".  This in turn would encourage more 
>donations to the project, and in getting that aspect completed.  Both these 
>mentions in the last 2 years, (strictly from my viewpoint), have slowly been 
>in a death spiral.
>    Several years ago in a conversation with Richard over these two above 
>mentioned items, he told me one of his biggest problems were people 
>volunteering to do something, and then for one reason or another, failing to 
>do so.  This left a hole in that aspect of the project that usually took 
>months to fill, if ever, or cost considerable donation money to have it made 
>up on the outside.
>    The 2nd biggest problem was donations.  Many of you are interested in 
>the SS2S project for various reasons.  Maybe your just interested in one 
>aspect of it, and the rest of the project is just icing on the cake.  It 
>doesn't matter.  To get it made, or done, or accomplished, takes ideas, 
>knowledge, skill, AND MONEY.  "All those".  The knowledge and skill level 
>laying around out there with an interest in SS2S simply blows me away at 
>times.  Yet at the same time I think, I shouldn't be surprised, as these 
>people are often the same ones who do the X thing for a living 8 hours a 
>day, and are good at it.  They have the knowledge and skill from "doing it" 
>for a living, and enjoy doing it enough they do it when not working as well.
>    Some of you are interested in the SS2S project because it is simply 
>interesting, or a challenge you'd like to see done in this world, that for 
>one reason or another you can't do yourself.  You might also live in an area 
>where you can't make rockets, or shoot them off into the skies of  London, 
>or New York City, and many other places.  Or you may also not be good at 
>anything involved in making the actual rocket, but you might be good at 
>raising money, or getting donations.  "The actual rocket construction", does 
>not happen without money.  Consequently you might not know zip about fuels, 
>or aerodynamics, but your donation is just as important as any other aspect 
>of the project.  There are millions of ideas out there in the world, some 
>very good ones, that go nowhere without the money to build that idea.  It 
>then just remains,..........and idea.
>    Much of the SS2S group I think relies to much on donations of equipment 
>and materials.  If they happen, naturally they are a gift from Heaven.  But 
>think where this current SS2S would be if we hadn't
>had to wait for someone to volunteer to make some aspect of it.  If someone 
>does, it's another gift from Heaven.  If not, we wait, and wait.  If we had 
>not had to wait several times, sometimes over a year to finance some aspect, 
>or because someone failed to do what they said they were going to, I'd say 
>that SS2S would have happened 5 years ago.
>    What SS2S needs is monetary donations, and not necessarily big ones. 
>Steady ones of what you would spend on a 6 pack of beer once a month to help 
>you dream about rockets.  That sent to SS2S it would do wonders for the 
>project and your dreams if say 500 people in this whole world did the same 
>each month.  Or a dollar a day is doable for most of us.  So once a month, 
>send your donation of 30 $.  IT WORKS !  It not only helps make the project 
>happen, it helps you keep your interest and dreams alive.
>    Nobody can make this happen by themselves.  Richard has a dream, and has 
>for the most part of it, he has dedicated his life to it.  I think its a 
>cool idea, that shows that the little guy, combined with a lot of other 
>little guys, can do anything.   And yet when you think about it, that is how 
>the world produces things.  There is no one person who does it all or makes 
>it happen.  There is the idea, that is broken down into do able parts, and 
>lots of little guys and gals make it.  The only thing that is different in 
>this SS2S endeavor is,.........you work for nothing.  You pay what you can 
>to help out if you can't do the work.  If you say you will do something, 
>then do it.  Don't let everybody else down, or hold up some aspect of it 
>because you didn't do your thing.  If you need help on something, say so. 
>God knows there is PLENTY of expertise in this SS2S group.
>    Finally I'd say, never think you don't have anything to contribute to 
>this project, and are just watching.  If your just watching, your 
>interested.  If your interested there are plenty of things to do.  Let SS2S 
>know what your interests are, or what you do for a living you wouldn't mind 
>doing a little more of on the side for nothing but the challenge of doing 
>it.  And what your hobbies are, etc.  It'll give us a file of who knows what 
>and does what.
>    I personally would be glad to see a shift into the staging of SS2S.  The 
>dual chamber idea was an extremely interesting idea, and it looked to me 
>originally like an easy solution.  But it has been a problem plagued area 
>most of its history.  I personally think it maybe a resonant frequency 
>problem when the 2 nd stage fires.  Whatever, it is to expensive for us to 
>    I'm not much on fuels, but it appears that cracking of the sugar 
>propellant as it gets into larger and larger sizes is one of those things 
>that suddenly appears where one sets foot where no one else has gone before. 
>Unless we can find a propellant binder that is more forgiving, I think a 
>propellant change as well needs to considered.
>    All things considered, I think with adapting SS2S to staging and a 
>propellant change, much of the aspects of a new SS2S rocket are already 
>done.  The nosecone is made.  The de-spin aspect is pretty well completed. 
>Some good avionics has been worked up and is functional.  Parachute system 
>as well.
>    I'm not on the board, nor should be.  But I'd suggest all of you who are 
>REALLY interested in seeing this project done, let those who are know what 
>your feelings are on the project.  And where YOU think it should go. 
>Richard gave his all.  He needs to see a light at the end of the tunnel. 
>So,.........if you do nothing else, send SS2S a donation for whatever 
>amount, as THANKS for what he has done for amateur rocketry.  Finding 
>someone dedicated to anything that much in today's world is beyond rare.
>    And with that, I'll shut up.
>Cliff Bates
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Richard Nakka" <richard.rocketry@xxxxxxxxx>
>To: <sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 9:45 AM
>Subject: [SS2S-Main] Changes to SS2S; Moving forward in our pursuit of 
>reaching Space on the power of Sugar...
>>I have decided to step down as Director of the Sugar Shot to Space
>> program.This decision followed a great deal of contemplation and was
>> not an easy decision to make. We are now entering our 10th (yes, 10th)
>> year of the program, and while a great deal of accomplishments have
>> been made, and we have much to be proud of, truth is we are no closer
>> to our goal of reaching Space than when we started.
>> Two recent motor failures of the innovative DD-slot grain weighed in
>> on my decision. Not only did this grain configuration prove to be a
>> dissappontment , it made me come to the conclusion (rightly or
>> wrongly) that large motors utilizing conventional sugar propellant may
>> not be feasible. Or at the very least, require a lot more research and
>> testing to come up with a suitable technique.
>> Approximately one week ago I notified some of the key SS2S team
>> members of my decision.  This past Sunday, a telecon was held in this
>> regard. Participants were myself, Chris King, Rick Maschek, Hans Olaf
>> Toft and Hayk Azatyan. Much discussion followed as the the future of
>> SS2S. Chris King made the decision to step down as Lead of the
>> Avionics group, stating the he has achieved much of what he aimed for
>> when he first joined SS2S. Rick Maschek, on the other hand, felt that
>> the SS2S program has a definite future and that he offered to take
>> over the directorship role. This change in leadership was endorsed by
>> all participants. Hayk offered to lead the avionics endeavour, and
>> Chris offered to provide assistance with the transition and to help
>> out in the future if the need were to arise. I also stated that I
>> would be glad to take on a lesser role and provide any technical and
>> project-related help that would might be requested in the future.
>> Regarding his future participation in SS2S avionics, Hans stated that
>> he will have to ponder his participation over the next while and will
>> inform us when he has made his decision. Vicente, Randy Dormans,
>> Mattias Lampe and Paul Avery have since indicated their eagerness to
>> continue their participation.
>> One of the first decisions that Rick made as new Director of SS2S was
>> to shelve the dual-burn concept, and instead, focus on developing a
>> two-stage rocket. Rick strongly felt that most of the setbacks we
>> encountered were a result of pursuing the dual-burn concept. Rick
>> recently provided a sketch (attached) of a rocket that simulations
>> indicated would be capable of reaching the 100 km altitude goal. A
>> smaller prototype is planned to test the motors and staging concept.
>> Rick has recently been directly involved in high altitude
>> staged-rocket flights that proved to be successful and has therefore
>> gained confidence that this is the way to go with SS2S.
>> More information on the future direction of SS2S will be provided as
>> developments unfold.
>> Let's give Rick and the team our full support in this renewed quest to
>> reach Space on fhe power of Sugar.
>> cheers,
>> Richard Nakka

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