Broadcast 1386 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

28 Jun 2010 John Culverhouse, Dr. Paul Mueller
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guests: Dr. Paul Mueller, John Culverhouse. Topics: Experimental Sounding Rocket Association (ESRA) 2010 competition, student rocket clubs and launches. We welcomed back Dr. Paul Mueller, Chief Engineer for ESRA to update us on this year's college student competition for ESRA. John Culverhouse of the winning team from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (E-R) joined us to talk about his team's entry and rocket clubs in general. For more information, please visit the ESRA website at In our first segment, Dr. Mueller provided us with a summary of this year's competition which was held June 16-18 at Green River, Utah. Teams had to launch a 10 lb payload to 10,000 feet, recover the payload and the rocket, make a presentation and provide a conference type paper on their rocket project. This year they had four teams with about 50 students in total. As you will hear, two teams made it to an altitude higher than 10,000 feet, one team reached 8,840 feet and the other reached 7,900 feet. A team actually looses points if they go higher than the stated altitude objective due to the FAA waiver that the competition obtained. We also talked about student and college competitions in general, as well as rocket clubs. John Culverhouse described the E-R winning entry and then based on listener questions, we took a look at the team costs for building, developing, and participating in the competition. Toward the end of this segment, Paul talked about the advance division of the contest to launch to 25,000 feet. In the second segment, Paul talked about the workshops that they are developing for the teams in association with Utah State regarding hybrid rocket motor development. Later in the segment, ITAR came up as there might be foreign teams wanting to enter the competition including some from Canada. In the context of ITAR, guidance was discussed with roll control and also pitch and yaw. Listen carefully to what Dr. Mueller had to say about this and what he has to do to comply with ITAR rules. Later in this segment, I asked John about the E-R students and their thoughts on Obama space since they are located in the heart of the Space Coast in Florida. He told us the students were upset that there would be no human spaceflight and in fact have signed a petition about this which they sent to every member of Congress. Listen to what John had to say about the student reaction to the FY 11 space budget and policy proposal. Paul brought up an interesting unintended consequence that as a professor he is aware of in that the transition to commercial and low cost space access may ultimately imply less jobs, not more jobs. A major way of achieving low cost is through using less labor. He said this may ultimately impact those seeking aerospace engineering careers as the number of jobs in the field could be reduced. Listen to the complete discussion on this subject. In our last segment, John talked about the E-R senior project to launch ICARUS 3 to space. He mentioned their need for a launch site and said that when ICARUS 1 was launched out of Wallops, the cost for tracking and related services was about $200,000 for the rocket which went to 37.5 miles in altitude. In the latter part of this segment, Paul summarized this year's event at Green River and then we responded to a listener question about the quality of college faculty advisors for rocket teams. If you have a question for Dr. Paul Mueller, he can be reached at or through the ESRA website. John Culverhouse can be reached at



WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.