I taped the Discover Channel Rocket Challenge when it aired a year or two ago and still watch it (too often, I'm told). The one thing that really bothers me has to do with the Aurora Project - the use of black powder for ejection at 30K feet.
I expect that there is some empirical evidence that supports the problem of BP at altitude, but the claim that it is due to lack of air drives me nuts. Is it not true that BP is self oxidizing? Estes and Quest motors are sealed, as are things like the Defy Gravity Tether. Even most ejection canisters in electronic deployment systems pack the powder in with a wadding cap and are essentially sealed. Black powder rifles would not work because they too would suffocate themselves. If they depended upon the presence of atmosphere to burn, then BP motors would ignite then quickly go out as the initially burning surface consumes the air as it recedes into the motor.
Where does this premise come from and is technically sound.