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

  • From: "Cliff Bates" <cliff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 00:36:40 -0700

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 "done". 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 solve. 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.

Richard Nakka

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