Popular Science article

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I thought it was pretty sickening the way the article emphasized the catos. Over and over it was the screwups and explosions that interested the writer. I can't see how that is a big plus in popularizing the hobby. But then, where did he get the idea that people 'enjoy' seeing catastrophes? Maybe from attending launches and observing people's reactions to them, eh? Still, he could have done a lot better. I don't recall that he spent much time talking about interesting instrumentation or data analysis. He wrote it up like HPR was just an upscale amateur fireworks hootenanny. Not good.
Reply to
FredB
I hadn't seen this... and I must say it sucks. No mention of TRA or NAR, only one mention of safety. Many allusion to rocketeers as dangerous folks (loaded language such as "co-conspiritor" abounds). And the assertion that catos are desired in somebody else's rocket is absurd.
With publicity like this, it won't take the BATFE to close this hobby down.
Kevin O
Reply to
Kevin OClassen
I finally grabbed a pallet-load of these :-)
IMHO this is a REALLY BAD ARTICLE for our hobby. Might as well flush thousands of dollars we've pumped into the legal fund and save rocketry now when we get press like this. We'd be far better served if we took some of those funds and spent them to hire a PR person to make sure that articles look like the Wall Street Journal article instead of this hatchet job.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
Aaaack! I agree with Fred! The world is coming to an end.
Even the Discovery Channel shows over a year ago were slanted towards showing the failures and marginal stuff. EVERY time someone talks to me about that show, the first thing they seem to mention is "that idiot with the cigarette in his mouth"...
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
Why would you think it was PopSci's mandate to "popularize the hobby"? And to the casual spectator, of course the CATOs become the most interesting part of the launch. The successful flights quickly become routine. As my wife says, "They go up, they come down ... they go up, they come down ..."
Most of us who planned and hosted LDRS 23 actually thought, for the most part, that the article was fair and accurate. The general public isn't going to be interested in an HPR, ER or Sport Rocketry type of article, with rocket kit names and motor designations and certification attempts documented ad nauseum.
And as for "popularizing the hobby", the print version of the article includes a link to the LDRS 24 web site, from which people can get to the TRA site. Also, in the print version the author and the photographer are quoted as saying:
"Despite the occasional launchpad burn-up or midair explosion, injuries to bystanders were non-existent..."
and
"The rocketeer culture is one of the coolest I've encountered."
Hmmm. "Occasional mishaps", "no injuries", "cool culture". Doesn't sound like a slamming of the hobby to me, but just an article written from the perspective of a single spectator attending his first rocket launch.
...Rick -- Rick Dunseith BRS 0079 - LDRS 23 Committee TRA 7162 - L3/TAP CAR S376 - L4 President, NAPAS
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Reply to
Rick Dunseith
Seeing as the magazine is titled "Popular SCIENCE", I personally would have expected an article of a more serious tone; focussing on the educational aspects of the hobby; instead of the "fiery thrills and spills". The magazine may be written for the general population, but they usually treat their subject matter with respect.
Reply to
Greg Heilers
Serious science? The same issue had an article on a guy who flies around suspended from dozens of large helium filled balloons. :-)
The LDRS 23 article sidebars, in the print version at least, highlight a number of individual flights, listing rocket size and weight, type of motor, time and financial investment, altitude achieved, etc. One sidebar includes cutaway drawings and brief explanations of solid vs. hybrid motors. One directs readers to a web page highlighting interesting dates in rocketry history
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In the body of the article is a brief explanation of the evolution from BP to composite motors, and a high-level explanation of how rocket motors work in general. There's mention of our regulatory woes. There's mention and a description of hybrid motors as an alternative to solid-fuel motors. And there's mention of our EX activities and highlights from the EX day flights.
So there is actually some "science" (enough for the layman, at least) mixed in with the sensationalism in that article.
FWIW, not everyone thought it was a disrespectful article. While some on the TRA forum were offended by it, most of the respondents seemed to think it was a pretty reasonable article.
...Rick
Reply to
Rick Dunseith
I didn't think it was all that bad. Yeah, the emphasis on screwups sucked, but it also showed that despite the catoes and lawndarts, it's a pretty safe hobby. And the hobbyists involved came across mostly as knowledgeable "tech-heads" pushing the envelope, rather than just a bunch of yahoos blowning stuff up.
As I mentioned before, most of the cringe-inducing comments came from rocketeers, which is why we must always be very careful about what we say to the media.

Reply to
raydunakin
Yes...but such articles are always outweighed by "serious" (though written for the layman) articles on astronomy, physics, aeronautics, electronics, medical technology, computers, etc.
I, personally, did not find the article too insulting; though I can see where many would. But remember....most of the insulting, embarrassing, or disrespectful quotations...came from the rocketeers themselves.
Reply to
Greg Heilers
I read the article...
Like it or not, people, this is how the outside sees us, and largely it is as we portray it to be.
I'd say this guy had a 100% accurate description of the hobby as we show it to the outside world, but I don't think it's as bad as some of you are making it out to be. Actually, I think it's good to be honest about it. This is good press.
Friends of mine who go to launches or watch my rocket videos are bored silly with the rockets that work right... That's just like watching a NASCAR race where every car makes it around without incident for 500 miles.
There are only a limited number of people who can enjoy flawless rocket flights endlessly without getting bored - and we are these people. To others, rockets that 'work' are just more of the same.
You want to see something that is potentially 'bad' for rocketry? Just wait.... It's coming.............;)
Todd
Reply to
tamoore
That photo is edited. The original had a launch tower behind the rocket and some other stuff.
Interesting - at least to me.
Reply to
Phil Stein
Well, just to be evenhanded, I hope they lead with a picture of a hot-air balloon hung up in powerlines and on fire the next time they do a feature story on ballooning.
Reply to
FredB
They might, if at the ballooning event one of them catches fire and goes up in flames. As the guy who pressed the button on the rocket blowing up in the lead photo, I can assure you - that CATO shown happened at the event being written about. Sure, they removed the launch pad from the photo, but still, rockets (including that one) were blowing up that catastrophically at that event.
...Rick
Reply to
Rick Dunseith
Since you're not a motor manufacturer, I can see why you might have trouble understanding such things. Maybe you should ask one of the folks who are active in EX to explain to you why EX motors sometimes cato.=20
=EA
Reply to
raydunakin

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