Rocket Challenge on Discover

After seeing the ad for the rocket challenge on Discover I had a thought...
If you were an average American with 2.5 children and a dog and absolutely
no knowledge of amateur rocketry, would seeing a three hour show about 65+ pound rockets being sent 10,000+ feet into the sky make you feel comfortable about this hobby?
Perhaps the reality is that the very things that make this hobby attractive to many of us make it unattractive to many others.
I am not trolling here, it's just that in terms of attracting new hobbyists, this show may be just a little bit overwhelming.
Before the flaming begins, I am against neither the concept or the focus of the show--my vcr is set.
All I am saying is try (try) to think about this from the point of view of someone who has never been exposed to this, then suddenly sees something that looks and sounds (to them) like a NASA project blasting off from a cornfield.
just a thought, now bring the bitterness...
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I AM an average American...(I'm a Vet)...with 2.5 children and a dog, and prior to my first launch, had absolutely no knowledge of amateur rocketry. I am afraid of the B.S. that the government is trying to FORCE down my throat! Other than the 'elected' and the 'Holier than Though' idiots in the upper echelons of our government, anyone involved in our hobby knows that when the RULES are followed, Amateur Rocketry is SAFER than the nonsense that goes on during our annual 4th of July 'celebration'.
How many times since it's been available has the NAR or TRIPOLI's insurance been used?!?!?!
And why in the world is black powder, although MORE dangerous than AP, easier to get...AND STORE...in larger quantities?!?!?!
Because the general public has NO idea how silly this hobby is. That's why. When I say 'silly', that's exactly what I mean.
Take into consideration that the majority of us have started with nothing more than a cardboard tube, and a lot have now 'graduated' to more technical materials, ie carbon fiber, Kevlar, etc etc...just to do the same thing!!!
Build an ENTIRELY harmless 'tube', (or outhouse, or orange barrel, or WHATEVER), just to launch it as high as possible, get it back, and DO IT AGAIN!!!
The fire danger is common sense, in that most would not even CONSIDER launching without proper precautions or if conditions were severe. The damage danger is also common sense, if the RULES are followed, even with a catastrophic event, the chance of someone, or someone's property, getting hurt/damaged are more slim than my drive to work every morning.
The thing I find the most interesting is that the same people that want to 'regulate' AP are the same people that can't even regulate their own national spending, and yet vote themselves a blinkin' raise every year.
So, in MY opinion, yes, this needs to be shown to the general public. How many of 'us' LOVE the 4th of July, not for the bang and spark, but just for throwing something up in the air to defy gravity, or to see who can go highest? And if a person can then recover and re-use, what a thrill!!!!
I have to agree that from the previews I've seen, and not the entire show, that maybe it's a little too extreme... but if we can show the general population that what we do is SAFE, even with mistakes, problems, and un-expected results, that MAYBE we can then get that same general population to realize that we just wanna have fun!!!
So, with every average Joe that sees the result of our efforts, whether they be safe-n-sane, or a total mishap and yet safe, that is one more person that MIGHT be turned on to our hobby, and if not, at least understand that even with the 'Tryin' to catch NASA' mentality that some of us seem to have, this is NOTHING more than Big Boys with Big Toys, and that world peace is NOT in peril from anything we do!
Ok, that's my two cents, now let's go launch rockets!!
Tom
--
T. E. Parson
29S2R
Black Hills Rocketry Club
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I hate it when I can't spell my own name.........
Chukc
--

Chuck Rudy

VooDoo Digital Productions
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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 00:19:15 -0500, Chuck Rudy wrote:

well, have you even considered the mental anguish you're inflicting on all the other Chucks?
Where's my lawyer?...
--
Chuck Stewart
"Anime-style catgirls: Threat? Menace? Or just studying algebra?"
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NaCl wrote:

Hmmm... but doesn't that sort of thing have a certain appeal? I mean they have various "robot wars" and similar things...
-dave w
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have various "robot wars" and similar things..." <<<
Indeed. A recent message thread on the Delphi Battlebot forum discusses the future of robotic combat, and some 'bot folks have mentioned the Rocket Challenge shows in much the same way. Lots of similar issues shared between two different communities.
I enjoyed the Discovery Rocket Challenge shows. It didn't surprise me what they chose to focus on and dramatize. Drama sells, drama makes shows more palatable and interesting for the masses. That's true whether you're talking Battlebots, Rocket Challenge, Junkyard Wars, or Joe Millionaire.
-- Ross Hironaka
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One of the things that impressed me about the show was the way it made rocketry look a lot like any number of other "extreme" sports or crafts (someone mentioned motorcross? Or auto racing?) Slightly dangerous, slightly whacky, some significant skills possibly involved. But basically pretty normal. Approachable. We might like to have a higher opinion of ourselves, but I bet those other groups do too... And it's a lot better than "near terrorists and basement bombers all."
BillW
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Bill Westfield wrote:

Does anyone (besides old Estes propaganda about why you should buy their motors instead of trying to make them - "our country needs live rocket scientists who have all their fingers and hands...") ever actually _use_ the term "basement bomber"?
-dave w
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I believe they took it out of context from one of the articles they cited in their basement bomber brochure.
Anecdotal evidence.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 13:41:16 -0800, David Weinshenker

A few: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22basement+bomber%22 But not as many as I expected.
--
Darren J Longhorn http://www.geocities.com/darrenlonghorn /
NSRG #005 http://www.northstarrocketry.org.uk /
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NaCl wrote:

<...snippage...>
To be honest, when I first found out what high power rockets were capable of, my first thought was "cool!", followed quickly by "Okay, what do I have to do to try this out?"
I've been involved ever since.
My wife even likes high power (she's L1), and my kids think some of the big projects are cool.
-Kevin
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Maybe my point of view is tainted. I think the shows are a good deal. I was introduced to high power by the same show you were speaking of. I was jumping up and down pointing at the TV and yelling to the wife "Did you SEE that!!!" After flying Estes-class stuff since the 5th grade, it seemed too good to be true.
They showed the big-ass Redstone that Tripoli Nebraska built. I was not only astonished at the size of the thing, but guys from my home state had built it! Wow! I didn't have a computer at the time, but high power rocketry was one of the first things I looked up when I got one.
I think this series of shows on Discovery has the potential to bring in lots of new blood, the last shows brought me in, and a few others I would suspect. :-)
-- Joe Michel NAR 82797 L1

thought...
absolutely
65+
comfortable
attractive
hobbyists,
of
of
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...not to mention that the descriptions of the three shows refer to "Mach 2", "16 pound bowling balls" (i.e. payload) launched from a rocket "built in just a matter of hours", and "target based competitions". Sounds like a great holiday gift for the fear-mongers. Maybe the BATFE doesn't need their own video.
As for the point of view of someone who has never been exposed, I use the reaction of non-rocketeers hearing about my Level 3 as a gauge. More often than not, people are surprised that something so large, fast, and heavy is allowed to fly -- especially to such high altitudes. Show them a picture of the launch rail at 45 degrees (on its way to vertical, of course) and some people go pale.
Personally, I think that the rocketry community would be best served by dropping the argument that the technologies that we use are not suitable for destructive purposes. Better to acknowledge the potential and focus on our self-regulation and safety record.
--Jim

thought...
comfortable
attractive
hobbyists,
of
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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 11:59:13 +0000, Jim Meyers wrote:

Er... _any_ technology can be used for destructive purposes. I think you've let the thundering roar of your level 3 go to your head... ;) Your car has vastly greater energy resources.
Two points:
1) Hobby rockets are not equivalent to military rockets, and do not come anywhere near most military rocket requirements. The numbers are not ing up.
2) Hobby rockets are so much not a threat that the BATF and friends felt it neccesary to LIE about their capabilities in order to try to get their rules passed... and you want to give in to this outright deception? When you begin relying on rocketry's safety record that's when the BATF will begin lying about that as well.

--
Chuck Stewart
"Anime-style catgirls: Threat? Menace? Or just studying algebra?"
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Chuck Stewart wrote:

<Shirley Temple Voice>
They would never do that!
In fact they keep records of the hundreds of "incidents" caused by "rocketry related" materials. It's just that they are Super Double secret records with all of the english words, dates/times, etc. blacked out.
But, lie? No never ...
</Shirley Temple Voice>
Curtis
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ROFL
And sadly 100% true.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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Yep, I've seen the results of FOI requests. They blacked out everyting except the words "yadda" "blah" and "murmur."
It would be nice to know their definition of "rocketry related materials" is as well. That could include plastic, paper, wood, cloth, etc. etc. etc.
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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 11:59:13 GMT, "Jim Meyers"

My reaction is more like; Cool, I can't beleive our ^&*%# goverment lets us do this.

Amen Brother Jim. Well, I'm still L0, but we're all in this together.
Alan

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<< Personally, I think that the rocketry community would be best served by dropping the argument that the technologies that we use are not suitable for destructive purposes.>>
Why not, since it's true?
<<Better to acknowledge the potential and focus on our self-regulation and safety record. >>
The people trying to regulate us out of existence don't give a damn about that. They never have and never will.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (RayDunakin) wrote:

TRA and NAR have not cut the legs out from under them on this point very well. They have been too focused on attacking Jerry and his proven track record of the very procedures the authorities asked of him in 1974-1992.
They gave up on waiting for TRA or NAR TO WAKE UP, AND SO HAVE I.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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