The I got to wondering if anyone out there had ever heard of any amateur rockoon projects?
If you haven't heard of a rockoon, it is a combination of the word "rocket" and "balloon". The concept is that a balloon is used to tow a rocket to a high altitude and then lauched.
When I've searched around, most of the references I find are to the use of rockoons by Van Allen (of radiation belt fame)in the course of his research back in the 1950's. The only thing close to anything like an amateur attempt that I found on the web was by a group called JP Aerospace back in the 90's.
I'm not necessarily contemplating any such project myself, I just find it a fascinating possiblity. And like the many amateur high altitude balloon lauches and high power rocketry, it is amazing what people put together. I wonder if it would be feasible for a high altitude balloon plus high powered model rocket to ever technically reach the internationally recognized altitude of ~100km considered "outer space".
I know that both high altitude balloons and high powered rocketry have their own FAA (or equivalent agency) approval hoops to jump through. Perhaps they just wouldn't allow it, or it would be so much red tape that no one attempts it.
Even a low altitude rockoon, of a small ~3ft diameter weather balloon towing a standard model rocket would be an interesting project, for the technical challenge of pulling it off successfully.
Anyway, if anyone has ever heard of amateur rockoon attempts or your own musings on the topic, I'd be interested in hearing about it!