Who Says Linux Is Not (in) Rocket Science?


Fuel and further development

So what is the fuel that boosts the rocket engine?  According to Sarah Sharp: “It’s ammonium perchlorate.” Greenberg elaborates, “We did indeed have a GOX/Paraffin engine project, but it’s been on hold for several years now. We hope to restart that project sometime in the future. For now, we’re sticking with very standard solid amateur rocketry motors: an ammonium perchlorate oxidizer with HTPB fuel. We launched on a small “N” motor this last May, and we’re aiming for a larger “N” this October at the Black Rock Desert amateur rocketry launch. [13]”

However, there is great potential in GOX/Paraffin and LOX/Paraffin technology. While it is absolutely safe to be used in rocketry, it is also much cheaper compared to any alternative. Besides, there is big research work on, which will allow hybrid motors with Active Fin Control (AFC), Thrust Vector Control (TVC), as well as a reaction control system (RCS) to use it. It could enable achieving a new flight record that’s above the already-achieved altitude of 10 kilometres.

Figure 7: The LV2 rocket on the tower, moments before launch
Figure 7: The LV2 rocket on the tower, moments before launch

Greenberg reveals, “PSAS is going to reach higher altitudes sometime later next year. We’re currently busy with rebuilding the avionics system, so you can subscribe to a mailing-list and help us reach the sky.”

Figure 8: The PSAS community with it's LV2 rocket
Figure 8: The PSAS community with it’s LV2 rocket


The author would like to thank the following PSAS members for their help during this survey: Andrew Greenberg, Sarah Sharp, Jamey Sharp and Ian Osgood. Pictures are copyrights of Sarah Sharp, Wikipedia and its members.


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputnik_1
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Korolyov
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wernher_von_Braun
  4. http://history.msfc.nasa.gov/vonbraun/bio.html
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-2
  6. http://psas.pdx.edu/CapstoneLV2bProjectReport/
  7. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/2009-05-31_helicopter_overflight.mov
  8. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_dk.avi
  9. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_600fps.mov
  10. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_onboard.avi
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composite_propellant
  12. http://ecos.sourceware.org/
  13. http://www.balls18.com/
  14. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Semyorka_Rocket_R7_by_Sergei_Korolyov_in_VDNH_Ostankino_RAF0540.jpg
  15. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:S-IC_engines_and_Von_Braun.jpg
  16. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/2009-05-31_helicopter_overflight.mov
  17. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_dk.avi
  18. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_600fps.mov
  19. http://psas.pdx.edu/news/2009-05-31/launch_onboard.avi


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