Wow! Take a look at this for a little “bang! zoom!” in your day! This video shows an incredible video of an amateur rocket launch, which could be eligible for a $5,000 rocketry prize. Led by Derek Deville, the rocketeers launched their custom-built 26 ft. (8 meter) Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”) rocket on September 30, 2011 from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. It reached an altitude of 121,000 feet (36,880 meter) in 92 seconds, at speeds of 2,185 mph (3,516 km/h). Holy speeding missiles, Batman! The Qu8k rocket returned to Earth safely just 8.5 minutes later, landing 3 miles (5 km) from its launch point.
The incredible footage from on on-board camera shows the curvature of Earth and the black sky of space. See the full video below.
This launch could be eligible for the Carmack Challenge (put out by Armadillo Aerospace Founder John Carmack) which offers $5,000 for an amateur rocket launch above 100,000 ft. However, the rules say “The rocket must record a GPS serial log of the flight with at least one report above 100,000ft plus the launch altitude,” and the Qu8k teams says that none of four independent GPS systems onboard its vehicle maintained positional lock through the trip. It is possible they might be able to recover the data, but Qu8k says accelerometer data and time to apogee available from onboard video footage allows them to mathematically deduce “with high certainty” that the rocket reached 121,000 feet. It might come down to Carmack deciding if that data will be enough to win the prize.
According to Qu8k, all parts of the vehicle were recovered and could be easily prepared to fly again.
See the Qu8k website, which provides some great high-resolution images of the preparations and flight of the Qu8k rocket. And congrats the the Qu8k team!