Joe Barnard is an enthusiastic engineer from the USA. He builds model rockets that “exactly match the pace of progress in the field of space launches.” For the past 7 years, Barnard has been striving to create a model of SpaceX’s reusable rocket – the Falcon 9 – that could land like the original.
Finally the inventor succeeded. On August 1, Barnard released a video of the Scout F rocket successfully taking off and landing under the control of the inventor.
It is quite difficult to launch, and most importantly to land a rocket with a solid fuel engine. It should be stabilized during flight, for which thrust vector control and a special on-board computer with software responsible for guidance are used.
Since the solid-propellant engine cannot simply be turned off, Barnard first attempted to land the rocket so that it touched the ground at the same time as the descent engine ran out of fuel. It was not possible to reproduce the calculations exactly, so he later added side-to-side oscillations of the thrust vector to achieve the throttling effect. In the final solution, a pair of ceramic clamps were installed on the rocket, which blocked the thrust at the right moment.
No less important for landing were the legs made of carbon fiber rods. They were supposed to absorb as much impact as possible and prevent the rocket from bouncing (this is what failed previous attempts to land the model).
The video of how an enthusiast creates a rocket with his own hands is inspiring. By landing the Scout F, Joe Barnard achieved a big goal he had been working towards for a long time – all the more interesting what he will develop next.