Introduction: Homemade Orbital Rocket?

Picture of Homemade Orbital Rocket?

I recently seen on tv, The U.S. government has stated that anyone who could prove they could reach and maintain orbit would be allowed, ofcorse that comes with many stipulations.
Here is my ideas and attempts at building one.
Admittedly this is a work in progress but progressing.

Here I will open my project to you the public to help me to perfect it,watch as I build and hopefully you will get to view the test trials and also the maiden voiage.

In the first few steps I will show my plans,materials and reveal my intenssions for this project.
I will leave this iable open ended untill the project is compleate the downside is you wont get to build just yet but after compleation of this project you should be able to atleast duplicate my work if not improve upon it.
So come on all you Rocket scientist and millionaire's I need your help.

Step 1: Step1

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I was browseing the web for some cool thing to call my next project I swooped by Mike Davis's web page where there is alot of cool stuff and was checking out his homebuilt jet engine and it reminded me of a drawing I had in my fileing cabinet from years ago when I was still in grade school. I dug a little and whiped it out and asked my girl friend if she want to see something cool, she replied yeah so I showed my drawing,she said what is that a new toilet invention.
I kinda giggled and said yeah. So after some hard thought planning I thought, "why not" and started to redraw my picture on windows paint, so I got my initial layout ready to post on i'ables, first here is picture of a model rocket I found online perhaps an ideal candidate for my fusilage design. ofcorse mine will have to be different,unique,personalized.

Step 2: Step2

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ok so now we see the initial design, a liquid fueled ramjet rocket engine with o2 assist for upper atmosphere assistance. the fules I have chosen is "either" or starting fluid and "keyboarb cleaner"compressed air o2 for the accelorant and upper level assist.

now I was afraid at first to post this because of terrorist useing dirty weapons but because of its scale and the velocity of the fuel exiting the aerosol cans I dont think it is possible for it to actualy carry a dangerous payload.

here you will see all the devices I have planned for my orbital rocket

1st I describe the micro controler, a parallax BS2 homework board available in an education kit at Radio Shack for under -$100.

2nd I describe the calculator A TI86 z80 based programable graphing engineering calculator.avalible -wallmart$120 or a pawn shop under -$50.

3rd I describe the cellphone,maybe not everyone has one -under$100.

4th I describe the ignition system basicly a old flash cammera I modified into a "shocker" found here on i'ables and a automotive sparkplug

5th I describe the altimeter, accelorometer and FM Transmitter these are daughter boards available through for accessories to the microcontroller sometimes used in hobby r/c planes roughly $50each.

6th the parachute trigger will have to be homemade or found for sale.

7th the engine and gas valvebody ,maybe a commercialy avaliable gasvalve from marine R/V propane heat under$200 if not it will need be machined 2-$600 estimated.

8th fuelbase manifolds homemade or machined under $200 estimated.

9th fuel & air must be calculated around $6 per can.

engine actualy came from a memory drawing of an engine I seen in an 1950's encyclopedia
the rest is prety much parts from a bobot kit from parallax,cell phone and a calculator I hobby with writeing programs for.

the can manifold bases and decision on fuels was all my idea.

Step 3: Step3

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My intenssions with this project,mostly to try to meet the challange. If I can pull it off I would like to possibly reach orbit and if it is still capable of further voiage perhaps aim it into the nearest whormwhole or mars either way I want to put a cell phone in space pass data back an forth and perhaps sample the sounds of the universe,take and transmit pictures,run manuveurs useing compressed air, call home and continuly replay the "can you hear me now" game that might spark some sponsership?.
I would love to put a bible onboard and take it to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Now that is spreading the gospel.


DavidR545 (author)2016-06-19

Not sure why you need the phone. Why not radio? You might need to unroll a long antenna wire, like with a fishing reel or something. Use a hash tables of Morse to translate sensor readings then burst the signal. While near the sun, solar cells should help, but you'll soon need an RTG (radio isotope thermoelectric generator) or you could try my design , which uses tritium light tubes held close to solar cells. You can salvage emergency exit signs for the tritium. You could possibly build an rtg using a beta emitter, not as powerful but youd probably save a bundle and your family jewels developing the unit in your garage! While the rocket part is cool, recharging the batteries far from the sun would be a problem. Even an rtg is good for like 10 yrs, getting weaker each year. You'll have a dead brick flying through space, bug it'll b your brick!!!

TonyK33 (author)DavidR5452016-09-01

Not only could he simply not use a phone at all... since cellular is limited to roughly 10 miles above the surface of earth. Radio would be HIS only option realistically. But then, this project is far from realistic in just about every way from the VERY LITTLE I know about space. Solar cells are more than reasonable if you plan to head to mars or just about anywhere near the sun. Hell even a few trips in the opposite direction would be fine if you could have a large enough solar array and somehow maintain an orbit somewhere to capture that light.

As for David's response to the RTG. I'm not sure he would be able to acquire a beta emitter, aside from the dangers of handling it. I know very little of beta emitters but i can say that the RTG's in the voyager missions work for a hell of a lot longer than 10 years. Granted they run plutonium 238, they were still able to acquire around 450 watts of power at time of launch. It's half life is like 80 years. To put it in perspective we launched those missions in the late 70's and they don't expect total equipment failure until 2025 at the earliest. 50 years and that's NASA's safety number.

If you want to orbit earth for a few minutes and drop. Build a rocket ship. If you want deep space travel... then you need to design around deep space conditions. Which means nuclear powered, and ION thrusters.

Also wanted to add. The speed at which everyone is mentioning as a needed speed for orbit is not entirely correct. It's the speed required for your average LEO craft. Speed and altitude for orbit are a product of mass. Light objects, which are affected less by gravity would need less inertia (speed) to stay in orbit. Likewise, a larger distance from the earth would have a similar effect, less inertia required.

PS If you had this capability. NASA would hire you. And i'm not knocking you i'm just being real. Unfortunately the average citizen just doesn't have the resources for something like this.

TonyK33 (author)TonyK332016-09-01

Also wanted to say, though iv'e never worked on an RTG i have used Thermocouples in both TEG and TEC form. Very cool stuff, simple and easy to use.

#EpicB (author)2015-10-04

i am eleven years old in new orleans and i would love to pull this off with my dad i liked the weather balloon idea. what if 4 weather balloons where seperated by four long rods with a launch cylinder in the middle

EliezerC (author)#EpicB2015-10-13

glad you're young and interested. the wheather balloons wouldn't keep the same altitude each, since they don't have engines or a CPU that can manipulate their floating.

TonyK33 (author)EliezerC2016-08-31

Use gravity :) Suspend 4 wires below the balloons to a central hanging weight. Might keep a center section stable enough. It would act like a pendulum in the air, and regardless you are correct it would still be quite unstable. Not nearly stable enough to calculate a trajectory for which to exit the atmosphere.

EliezerC (author)TonyK332016-09-01

It might work but at the same time you got to understand that the weight you're talking about will become a huge bullet when it falls back to earth.

#EpicB (author)EliezerC2015-10-20

Thanks I never really thought about that.the only way it could work is if you had one balloon that launched the rocket for balance

Ps i dout ull make it to a wome hole or mars !dont get ur hoped to high!

Why dont you use some thing more serious for fule like liquid oxygen or liquid nitrogen those are cheap and easy to get and/or u cud use solid fuel. If u get potasiun nitrate and kitty litter u kud make a pretty bad ass rocket.

milliondollarbrain (author)2016-04-08

I'm actually working on a project like this myself, I'm making aircraft for a powered ascent to 40,000 meters to clear the rocket itself of lot's of drag.

I would love to see that will it be a model of a aircraft or will it be made randomly?

milliondollarbrain (author)2016-04-08

If you would to make it homemade, you would most likely need a three stage unless you can pull a rabbit out of you hat a make it two stage to acheive 17,000 mph to achieve LEO. Also I like the idea a trans-martian injection

FredW28 (author)2016-04-01

I think your problem here is summed up in the last two sentences of step 3.

DAraelwun (author)2016-01-27

although i like the idea, it is near impossible, and certainly impossible at a low budget (by that i mean lower then any other organization) but there is still a chance for this to happen- study to be a rocket scientist and then join an organization as a 'rocket scientist'

DAraelwun (author)2016-01-27

this whole thing would be really expensive, and there is always the chance that you might:

hit an airplane

have it explode/overheat

not even make it to space (you would really need a parachute) + if it comes back down, it could land any where (almost) and if it lands somewhere in water, say bye-bye money, unless you have some 'maneuvers' up your sleeve, and you would also need a global positioning service (GPS)

anything that ever happened to nasa or other space exploration organizations


DAraelwun (author)2016-01-27


DAraelwun (author)2016-01-27

and you would run out of air after a while so, maneuvers, not the best idea, plus their is no reason to maneuver unless you plan on orbiting, and you would probably also need solar power to power all of this. and 'furthest reaches of the galaxy' is unrealistic, unless you mean eventually (by the time it got out of our solar system, you might not be around to witness it), but still, i like it, it just isnt something you through yourself into without a LOT of research, but i am assuming thats why you came here.

other things:

wormholes are theory (and on the losing side of the debate) + they wouldn't be within our reach

if by mars you mean orbiting mars, then yes, you will need 'Maneuvers', otherwise, just a really big parachute (because the atmosphere is 100 times less) to support the rocket on its descent

communication would not be easy, unless you ask nasa to borrow one of its satelites (if you actually make it to space they probably wont have a problem) and still it would need a communication device (cellphones wont work at all) most likely its own dish.

DAraelwun (author)2016-01-27

sorry to disappoint you on some of this but you cant hear anything from space, as there is no air (or anything) to convey it, and sound is just vibration. so you cant really take vibrations from nothing, or else nasa or private space/government space exploration groups would be sending us ringtones and songs, and within the day they did this there would be a remix, (ignore that last part about remixes) but otherwise i like the idea, if somehow you managed to get an infra-red/ U-V sensor it would be ten times cooler.

ColtonS5 (author)2015-11-12

I've thought about doing this and I still think of doing it till this day. Launching a weather balloon as high as it can go and then launching the rocket from there. Rather than timing the burst of the balloon you can razor the edges of the rocket, so when the rocket launches it slices through the balloon. While this is happening the energy released from the balloon can also help push the rocket but it would be hard to find a way to direct that energy in the right way. Your propellants I think would have a hard time cooping with the space enviorment, a can of duster would probably explode due to the vacuum of space. But this has inspired me to start working towards this goal again.

cdevidal (author)ColtonS52016-01-09

Maybe a launch platform stuffed inside the balloon. Some weight would also need to dangle beneath the balloon to keep it upright; maybe some launch mechanics/electronics? A flame would not likely burn inside a helium balloon (and really, you wouldn't want it to; you'd get a large fireball) so a spring-loaded platform with a pointy tip, and the rocket would burst through the top of the balloon, after two seconds fire the first stage. That still only gets you 18-37km into the atmosphere; you need to achieve 160km for low earth orbit. So it'd be a big project.

ColtonS5 (author)2015-11-12

And also you would have to construct your own rocket engines. Hobby rockets rely on more on readily available oxygen from the surrounding environment, although the chemicals in them do produce a oxidizer but way up in the atmosphere those rockets would probably perform and burn poorly and wouldn't create enough thrust to propel the rocket high enough. The engines would have to rely solely on a oxidized fuel source to be able to perform well enough to break orbit.

maxwelljets (author)ColtonS52015-12-19

This is actually a common misconception. Rocket engines do not need atmospheric oxygen at all. Small estes motors use black powder, which uses potassium nitrate as the oxidizer. The exhaust gasses are already fully oxidized when they leave the engine. Similarly, larger engines use a propellant mixture called APCP (Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant) which uses ammonium perchlorate as the oxidizer. This also produces fully oxidized exhaust using only the oxidizer contained in the propellant.

However, you are correct about these engines not working correctly at high altitudes. The nozzle shape must be optimized for one specific external pressure, or they lose lots of thrust. Using an engine designed for 1 atmosphere of ambient pressure way up near space will reduce your thrust (and thus efficiency) by roughly half.

daveinUK (author)2010-02-26

you need to hit 17000 mph to reach orbit im told. ive just bought some hobby rocket kits that with the right rocket motors can reach a hight of  8400 ft. im in the process of building a harness so i can strap them to a 2300gram weather balloon. my intension is to launch them when the balloon pops, however ive not figured out how to trigger the launch the moment this happens. but such a balloon should reach at least 100000ft. at that height  the atmosphere is about 1% of  ground level. so less resistance more altitude? ten times more? hobby wireless do an outstanding tracker. plenty of mini digi cams on market, but they  need a 3 hour battery life. ive got some helmet action cams,cold a problem -50 or less. parachute ebay get military surplus drone and flare ones.  best i can figure hobby rockets reach 2000 mph on a ground level  launch, maybe wrong though. if i succeed ill post video on youtube. good luck.. dave uk.

TonyM5 (author)daveinUK2015-07-18

+daveinUK Dave, the hobby rocket kits would probably not work to get you into orbit. You might want to consider liquid rocket fuel. I dont know if the acceleration would be high enough to get you past the upper atmosphere, you might want to buy some heat shields also to stop the friction from burning the rocket.

charger1369 (author)daveinUK2015-02-15

.....That could actually work. The weather balloon thing. Using it as a launching platform. And as for the sensing the balloons pop, you could always time the pop. I mean puncture the balloon yourself with some puncture mechanism so as to make the process more streamlined. But great idea, I know ill be thinking about that.

LeifF (author)charger13692015-03-28

"some puncture mechanism" would work, but it would be easier to just put a filiment and relay around the ballon. Close the relay, and the coil melts the cord.

evilmadcow (author)daveinUK2013-06-29

a pressure sensor in the balloon should suffice for release. simply hook it up so it is triggered a few seconds before popping.

wrdplay (author)2010-04-23

Honestly, dude, one, I think a cell phone would not work in space, two, I don't think that any home made rocket could reach mars, let alone a wormhole, which would be lightyears away. Also, I doubt aliens can read English.

LeifF (author)wrdplay2015-03-28

Mars and wormholes are not even mentioned.

OliverB3 (author)LeifF2015-05-22

Did you even Ctrl+F?

Better read the whole thing before commenting. (author)wrdplay2010-05-09

 If your phone was a satellite phone it might work, but if not it wouldn't get a signal in space.  You could try one of those tracking phones.  I like your enthusiasm and I really like the idea.  One I actually have a good fuel supply idea.  Normal rockets use hydrogen and oxygen so the provide fuel and stuff.  You could boost it to a good hight with solid boosters, then drop them when the air gets thin.  Then, using electrolysis create a hydrogen/oxygen rocket and you shouldn't have to separate them unless 5000psi would fuse them back together.

evilmadcow (author)jj.inc2014-10-08

satellite phones wouldn't actually work in space. their low range, power, and dependency of a SATELLITE TO BE POINTING AT THEM, when all the satellites are busy being pointed at the ground, makes it impossible. assuming your phone DID have the range for a signal to mars, and you could stand the forty-minute delay time, you could theoretically bounce the signal to another satellite with a dish, but the math required would be gargantuan, and not reasonably computable in time. it's literally like trying to play catch with a friend who is an a car. at several thouasd kilomieters per hour.

evilmadcow (author)wrdplay2013-06-29

most of this is correct. also, no sentient life lives on mars.

Who said that the life would be on mars?

Also, while the chances of life being on mars is incredibly slim, we still have barely scratched the surface. Its the equivalent of Columbus thinking he knew everything about the Native Americans within a week. And all know how that went. We shouldn't fool ourselves with thinking anything is certain.

sparkynf12 (author)2015-03-10

If I were you I'd go with liquid rocket fuel would have to be LOX and concentrated H2O2 which you can always concentrate by boiling 3% to evaporate the other 96% water and 1% additives or buy bleaching agent. Anything over 53% hydrogen peroxide is considered a VSO (very strong oxidizer) and you'd need to have a Chem license to own a stronger concentrate. Cell phone? Nope go with sattilite telemetry, like an iridium sat phone. The mixture of these two oxidizers will have to be kept cool with a nitrogen sleeve or else kaboom. Your terminal velocity would equal out to 2KG per every lbs that's the rule of thumb for NASA. Depending on your weight you'd have to situate your CG so your rocket will reach a successful TV and not tip or lean which would induce drag you'd want it going as straight as possible because at higher velocities under newtons law one very very small degree off would cause your rocket to slow and prevent you from going into orbit. I believe the hardest part will be to punch through will be the ozone layer because it is so dense [to block solar radiation] then of course you'd have to take gravitational pull from earth into consideration and figure the optimal point you'd need to have your rocket travel in order to escape the gravitational pull. Then of course the fuel consumption it took you if you even attained F (floating point) you'd have to think well hmm now how far can I go. Oh don't forget to take into consideration extreme heat and cold temps for your electronics as well as solar interference, not to mention all the interferance you'd have to succumb to.... Literally by the time you actually build this it's going to cost you enough that you could have gone down to space X and paid for a flight to the moon xD just being a realist here bro...

sparkynf12 (author)sparkynf122015-03-10

2kg per every ounce srry I use my phone and it types on autocorrect lol

To all of you people saying that satellite phones would not work, you are wrong. there are satellites that are much further away.

aidan.kuzmich.9 (author)2015-01-17

Hate to break it to you but the smallest rocket that could reach orbit would be around 30 feet tall, this is not because of gravity but because of the dense atmosphere we live in and if you do the maths behind how rockets work that's the basic minimum. If you look on the bright side a 30 ft rocket is achievable. I am 15 years old from Australia trying to complete the same task as you and so far my best rocket has reached an altitude of 70,000 ft and that rocket was 10 ft high. Also think about building a 2 stage hybrid rocket they are really easy for amateur rocketry and cost effective, But by all means keep dreaming if you push yourself and learn the maths behind rocketry and stick with it you could get there one day.


Dear Aidan, I am a rocketeer like you and I would like some help to build my own. So far I have been building sugar rockets that have been getting over 2,500 feet high. Do you use liquid oxogyen and liquid hydrogyen? Respond at my email: I wish to speak with you soon. (author)2013-12-18

there is a huge difference betwee orbital altitude and orbit, anything this rudimentary barely has a chance of even making the altitude, let alone circularising an orbit. you need rcs or reaction wheels along with a gimbal nozzel and instead of phone gps you need a custom transmitter or computer, could be run on raspberry pi or arduino. you also need a gps module enabled at higher altitudes. they normally cut out well below upper atmosphere, let alone space. for fuel you need liquid oxygen and hydrogen, not impossible, but definitely a bit of work. staging is also a key factor

evilmadcow (author)jj.inc2014-10-08

GPS would not work outside of the position of a geostationary satellite.

MichaelR11 (author)evilmadcow2015-01-05

sorry that was proven incorrect a while back, GPS in space works, both below the orbits and above the orbits. Wierd, but it was tested. the problem is that there might not be enough signal at 100,000 miles to get a reading

evilmadcow (author)MichaelR112015-01-06

which is why it would not work.

chessdude3 (author)2011-03-25

While solid state rockets are efficient up to about 1.5 miles of the atmosphere, anywhere above that it becomes not very efficient to use solid state. While solid state rockets work fairly well, they don't pack the same lasting punch that liquid state rockets do. Solid state rockets are more for ballistic rockets, traveling at an angle, toward a target on earth.

The solid state rockets can be compared to a shooting gun, with a lot of force packed into a short burst, while the liquid state fuels can be compared to jet engine on an airplane.

... Liquid state IS a jet on a plane...(minus the oxidizer i suppose)

DanDavison76 (author)2009-04-14

You can go to Google and download there free version of Google Sketch up 7 or buy it it is a fraction of the cost of a cad drawing system; the free will probably be all you need. This is a 3D drawing system and will help you design the rocket ship; hint ditch the pc paint drawing and use this it will make you look more professional. When I see something I like I will give you another hint, I don't build other persons aircraft but I may lend a hand.

pyro159 (author)DanDavison762013-09-06

Are you still trying to make that rocket? Because i'm trying to do the same thing with lox and kerosene.

jellywubbles (author)2009-09-13

ok srry to rain on your parade but im a college physicist and that rocket wouldnt even reach the upper atmosphere,giving the intensity of the wind at such great height even on a not so windy day. That rocket would need to be either at least 10 feet tall or it would have to be a very heavy, because the wind would blow it away. Since it would be heavy you would need better thrusters, if anything i would suggest c-42 v67 thrusters ,there about 2 feet long and 6 inches in diameter. They give good thrust and they maintain that thrust for about 2 mins. Now u would need to make an coco clock like device that would move a board after a certain amount of time to release the fuel. You could have so if lifts of the ground with one thruster, then you have 4 thrusters (one on each side) take it another certain distance,then 4 more take it the rest of the way. That should probably work. But i dont know y im getting your hopes up because once the rocket gets high enough the air pressure would lessen and that would let the rocket temperature drop and then ice would form and it would freeze the thrusters AND weigh down the rocket, so u need an internal heating system to kepp the rocket warm

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