Video of largest amateur rocket ever launched

When I was nine years old, I spent the early summer of 1969 doing two amateurish things: playing baseball with neighborhood pals on a red-clay diamond set among the tobacco fields of western North Carolina, and building a 1:100 scale three-foot-tall model of the Saturn 5 rocket topped by the Apollo capsule. I was pretty excited that I finished the model before the July Apollo XI mission took place, and I watched with a knowing eye as Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins sat atop the rocket and “lit the candle.”

So I know the pride that Steve Eves felt earlier this week out on Maryland’s Easter Shore, or at least I know with perhaps one-tenth the scale of his achievement.  Steve built and launched a 1:10 scale Saturn 5 — and then shot it into the sky!  It reached 4,400 feet and returned (in the words of President Kennedy with his original challenge) “safely to the earth.”

Watch the video. It’s an impressive achievement, by a passionate man who spends his workdays as an auto-repair specialist, and his weekends in rocketry.

Popular Mechanics called the effort “arguably the most audacious display of raw power ever generated by an amateur rocket.” Their story gave the facts:

The 36-ft.-tall rocket was the largest amateur rocket ever launched and recovered successfully—and at 1648 pounds, also the heaviest. Eves’ single-stage behemoth was powered by nine motors—eight 13,000 Newton-second N-Class motors and a 77,000 Newton-second P-Class motor. (Five Newton-seconds is equivalent to about a pound of thrust.)”

You can read the full Popular Mechanics coverage with photos here.

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