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El Reg's NAOMI rocket throws launch-pad strop

SPB fails to get it up at International Rocket Week

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This choice of name proved ill-advised, as you'll see, and before we even slipped the solid charge into NAOMI's tight rear orifice, rival rockets were beginning to fill us with a decided sense of inadequacy in the length and thrust departments.

Here's a good example: Gordon Walker of the Scottish Aeronatics & Rocketry Association (SARA) with his impressive Big John K Class solid motor lifter:

Gordon Walker with his substantial rocket

Mercifully, there were plenty of rather more modest constructions demonstrating you can make a rocket out of pretty much anything. Try Howard Smith with his Pringle Can projectile, which flew on a C Class solid motor...

The Pringles tube rocket

... or this splendid confectionery-themed cluster:

A rocket constructed from Smarties tubes

The award for the most preposterous contraption, though, went to Peter Waddington of the NSRG and his Mars Got Talent Hyperspace Line Dance Display Group:

The multiple flying saucer launch platform

We should explain that each saucer packed an A Class solid motor, producing 2.5 Newton-seconds total impulse each, and the plan was that they would all fire simultaneously to provide the cheering crowd with a truly amazing aerial line-dancing experience.

In the event, it didn't quite happen like that. Here's our pic of the moment of ignition, which doesn't do justice to the anarchic saucer display which followed:

The launch of the flying saucers

Suitably inspired by Peter's Martian madness, Bill stepped up to the launch pad to mount NAOMI, ably assisted by SARA's Ken Thomas:

Bill Ray mounts NAOMI on the launch platform

With the igniter connected...

Bill get a bit of help connecting the ignition wires

... Bill retreated to a safe distance, as the hushed crowd awaited El Reg's first rocket-powered foray into the blue yonder. Following a suitably dramatic megaphone introduction by John Bonsor, in which he announced our intention to push the envelope of rocketry with the LOHAN spaceplane, Bill pushed the button, and the motor fired...

NAOMI's engine fires

Unfortunately, and to the great delight and merriment of the spectators, the Special Projects Bureau failed to get it up. NAOMI stuck firmly to the pad, hopping off only when the parachute ejection charge fired, with a feeble "pwoaff".

The flight statistics can be summarised thus: Maximum altitude 1.5 metres, downrange distance from pad 60cm:

NAOMI on the ground next to the launch platform

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