Mercury Joe: Semi-scale flying GI Joe Redstone Rocket

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Picture of Mercury Joe: Semi-scale flying GI Joe Redstone Rocket
This project was inspired 40 years ago when I got a GI Joe Mercury Capsule for my birthday. I always imagined it flying (even orbiting) and it kept me out of my parent's hair for days on end. Fast-forward to the mid 90s when the GI Joe Capsules are re-issued by Toys-R-Us -- naturally I picked up one (well 3). After the popularity and success of the Gumby flights I simply had to look to the shelf above my workstation to be inspired for my next big project. When I found a tube that was 9.25" (the exact diameter of the Capsule base), this project was set into motion.

A LOT of this project was engineered on the fly and by no means reflects the best way to approach the tasks described.  It's just how I did it and you're welcome to make changes any way that suit your engineering skills.

I offer this in hope  that this 'instructable' will inspire others to build and fly similar projects.

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Step 1: Preamble

Picture of Preamble
To send a full GI Joe capsule aloft (with Astronaut), have the capsule free-fall and deploy its recovery system safely. The entire flight will be recorded by three (to 5) different on-board video systems.

This ISN'T a scale project; the "Mercury Booster" is a little thicker than the real thing. The "Mercury" capsule is built from the GI Joe unit, is under scale as well.

The big challenge of this project is to perfect a system that allows the capsule to free-fall to a safe altitude before deploying its parachutes. Technically this is no more than a dual deployment flight, but the added complication of extracting the tower so the capsule can free-fall is anything but simple.

At apogee the capsule (with tower) will decouple from the booster.

The capsule has a deployment bag attached to the heat shield which will pull out the pilot chute for the booster.

The decoupling activates an ejection charge timer inside the tower, allowing for the capsule and tower to drift away from the booster which will be unfurling its main chute.

Once the tower charge has fired and its chute has inflated, the weight of the capsule causes it to fall free off the tower base.

The capsule free-falls to about 1500' before deploying a pilot and main chute combination.

With all going to plan, video of the flight is captured from the booster, looking up and down,  the Tower, looking down and the capsule, both interior and an additional view down. 
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angeloskii2 years ago
that is so cool man. congratulations. may your parents be proud of you.
bjc40732 years ago
How much does your rocket cost and do you have full construction instructions somewhere? Great project.
Toilet paper tubes, it ain't rocket science fellas ;)
Aron3133 years ago
This should of won 1st!
rimar20003 years ago
Great work!! Congratulations.
itsjustdoc3 years ago
So. Gorram.Cool.
SurfRW3 years ago
This is amazing :O
wasnt your rocket in ldrs (large dangerous rocket ships) or was that somebody elses mercury joe
JamieClay (author)  Iwantbigboom3 years ago
Last year? I think it was Mark Hayes' of ROC. He has one that is about the same size.
no I mean the one in 2009
JamieClay (author)  Iwantbigboom3 years ago
Still not this one. It's never flown at an LDRS -- there have been a number of other large Mercury Redstone projects but only one "Mercury Joe". :)
profpat3 years ago
nice project!
shobley3 years ago
This is amazing stuff.. well done.

Can I be the first to say "SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!"

[Portal 2] :-)
JamieClay (author)  shobley3 years ago
HA! If someone sold a Portal Space Sphere, I would be very tempted to fly it as part of the payload!

I finished that game in less time than I would like to admit.
venecha3 years ago
This is awesome! Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

Taking Shobley's idea a bit further would be fun to mix the personality core screeching 'SPAAAAAAACE' to go off at time of launch *grin*. I might have to look into doing something like this and adding it in.
JamieClay (author)  venecha3 years ago
I've been meaning to add a system that does audio reports based on different launch events. One guy I fly with has the voice reporting all activity on board the rocket in real time.
seamster3 years ago
This is really awesome! I love seeing things like this posted here. I'm still just an estes rocketeer, but this makes me want to join the big leagues. Wow!
JamieClay (author)  seamster3 years ago
I totally understand - you should find a high power rocketry club in your area and see these things fly first hand. It'll get your blood going!!
Is there an ave limit on high powered rocketry?
Great rocket and ible by the way... I have always liked scaled rockets.
JamieClay (author)  lockpick3 years ago
The Age limit for high power is different depending on the club you choose to join and I'm not up to speed on those regulations but finding a local club and meeting the people there will give you a better idea as to what's available for you in your area.
I remember when I made a rocket from scratch using a toilet paper tube, cardboard, a straw, and a plastic bag. Best rocket I've ever flown.
askjerry3 years ago
Nicely done!

I really appreciate the detail you put into that... shows off the sport very well... and the video was outstanding!

TRA 5787
66tbird3 years ago
Very nice build. Sure bring back memories.
Wow! This is an amazing build, I have been involed in model rocketry since I could pick up a bottle of glue and a xacto knife but i've stuck closely to scale model engeneering. I seem to have trouble when i build out of scale.
tinker2343 years ago
wow hey where can i find a mercuy joe set
JamieClay (author)  tinker2343 years ago
I added an additional page that outlines where you can find the parts to make this.

I was approached to make this a kit but that was a while ago and nothing came of it. However, there ARE large Mercury Redstone rocket kits out there.

I'll see if I can't collect a few links and post them to the last page.
ok i looked i found aone but i like yours better
JCoffey3 years ago
Beautifully built! What motor are you tossing her up with? Have you braved a cluster yet?
JamieClay (author)  JCoffey3 years ago
I've flown this particular version (I rebuilt it once from the ground up) on an AMW L1300bb, CTI L730 and an Aerotech M1315.

I keep meaning to fly it as a cluster, I gave myself that option, but between the additional cost and complexity, I've not done it (yet).
Great detail on the rocket! I love it!
kelseymh3 years ago
This is an amazing Instructable, and I'm quite impressed at the level of detail you provide. Thank you for putting it together for the rest of the community!
(removed by author or community request)
JamieClay (author)  DELETED_hkopfs9a3 years ago
Is there no way to flag a spam comment? There should be.
See where it says "flag" in the bottom corner?
JamieClay (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
The original one said "Feature Comment Flag" and didn't offer the 'flag[delete]' option.

I see now that the message has been deleted "(removed by author or community request)" - but I didn't delete it.

I wonder if the 'flag[delete]' option, that shows up for regular messages isn't showing up in Chrome for the root message.

Interesting - anyway thanks for the reply!
On a side note, the "[delete]" only appears for your own comments, or for all comments on your Orangeboard.

You're quite right (below) that the current UI makes it really non-obvious that "flag" is separate from "Feature".
It's gone because the Admins have been chasing down a particular spambot.

You should be able to see a flag button on most comments (see picture) - if you can't, that may be a Chrome issue. Lithium Rain says that the non-google version ("Chromium") is better.
screen shot flag button.jpg
JamieClay (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
You know what? It's there but the UI design made me think it was a part of the "Featured Comment" function. I didn't realize that the word flag there was a separate function.

The UI designers should make Flag a button like Reply.

mikeasaurus3 years ago
This is amazing, great work documenting and experimenting!
Would like to know more on your payload recovery methods? (tracking, logging, line-of-sight, other?)

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