How NOT to Build a Rocket Motor!




About: I'm a total gearhead. I love working on cars, airplanes, rockets, sailboats, whatever. Cars i've owned and/or rebuilt: 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1977 Lotus Esprit, 1979 Fiat X1/9 & Strada, 1970 Ford Bronco...

Back in the good old days I was one of the few lucky scientists who got to work at was then known as the AF Rocket Propulsion Lab (AFRPL) . It was a great place to experiment with different types of rocket systems, including liquid, solid, plasma, solar and some other exotic designs. At RPL most rocket tests were static, meaning they were held in place as they fire.

The following sequence of images was taken by a colleague ( who's name escapes me at the moment ) of a test firing of a new solid rocket motor design.

As you will see things didn't go as planned. Fortunately, no one was injured.

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    17 Discussions

    Big Baneser

    6 years ago

    No one was injured instead they all died! Just kidding.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm impressed by the camera used to take the images. That it was able to adjust the exposure fast enough to darken the sky in the time that it took for the explosion to occur is very impressive.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    wish i could take credit for that impressive guy yourself 73 instructables and counting?!!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    That must have been so bright if the camera changed the sky to dark!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Totally Awesome! You are my new best friend! my education is in aerospace engineering and the test phase is the coolest portion of the R&D. Awesome Shots! Why did the rocket lose it's job? Because it got fired! HAHAHAHAHLOL! Just like why did the chicken cross the road? Becasue it was carbon bonded to the robot! HAHAHAHAHALOL!