On Tuesday 23 October 2007 11:00, Eric Lavigne wrote:
> >> Easy to build, not so easy to launch. It would be neat if someone could
> >> get around the legal/political obstacles for allowing homemade launches.
> >> Probably too difficult in the USA.
> >
> > As long as you're downwind of my house!
> Yes, that's the real problem. There's always someone downwind who
> doesn't want a rocket going through their window or putting a dent in
> their wing, and the laws reflect that. Any time designs are influenced
> more by the need to convince others that it will work than by the need
> for them to actually work, the cost of innovation moves way out of my
> price range.

In other words, you are willing to take risks with your neighbors' property 
that they aren't willing to take?

> I have a hard time believing that a price tag of $50,000 
> to launch a 1kg object is driven primarily by the cost of electronics
> and solid rocket boosters. These things just aren't that expensive.

They aren't? You have numbers?

> I'm not saying I have a solution, but step 1 is identifying the
> problem. Amateur rocketry would pass NASA's weak efforts in no time if
> it were really deregulated, but I also don't want any rockets coming
> through my window.

I think you grossly underestimate the difficulty of putting an object in 
orbit. The legal obstacles are negligible compared to the engineering 
challenge.  SpaceX has spent millions and probably come closest, and they 
have yet to make it to orbit (they will be happy to sell you launch services 
for $7 million per launch, over 700 kg payload capacity -- yes, that's cheap) 

The truly amateur altitude record is something like 36 km (or 36 mi?).

- Bob