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

  • From: william colburn <space1space@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <sugarshot@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 09:24:10 -0700

Mark lists the reasons well for the dual phase concept. It was actually 
inherited from the SORAC Project which for the same reasons, plus the 
difficulty in staging accurately, was conceived.

My congrats to Rick and best wishes to all for the success of this project. And 
of course thanks to Rich for carrying this burden for so long and so well.

Bill Colburn
Gravity is a Stern Mistress..
The Tick.

On Saturday, August 16, 2014 12:37 AM, Cliff Bates <cliff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

    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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