18 years ago
I think they could have gotten that thing to go A LOT further than it did (surely not 100 miles, but atleast 2+). They could have weight reduced a lot of the design among other things. Secondly, based on the throat size, I don't think the chamber pressure would have been very high (the max it could be is the NO2 tank pressure anyways). Thirdly, the fuel/oxidizer ratio wasn't exactly what you'd call ideal. With some tweaking, I'm sure it could have gone a lot further.
Still a really cool show.
There were a few errors in the attempt at creating a civil-war era rocket.
One was the use of paraffin. Its extracted from petroleum which wasn't widely done at the time. Seeing as how paraffin melts and vaporizes at a relatively low temperature isn't it likely that much of the fuel was lost before burning? What could they have used for fuel? An animal fat maybe? Sugar would work but wasn't that easy to come by in a blockaded confederacy.
Another error was the launch device. The myth said it was launched from two naval cannon set end to end with a charge of gun cotton. This implies that it was launched with a very high pressure behind it. The launch tube in the show certainly couldn't handle high pressures. Why would the confederates use gun cotton anyway? They had much more experiance with black powder and it was much easier to come by.
Charles P. Lamb
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