Wicked cool stuff like this, for starters:
The upper reaches of the atmosphere are still not as well understood as the rest underneath. That’s because while it may technically be “space”, there’s still too many trace molecules to orbit any satellites up there, and sounding rockets can only peek at it for a few minutes at a time. As civilian suborbital flights become more routine, expect us to find out a lot more about the fringes of our atmosphere.
And though what’s “out there” is fascinating, I’ve always been much more interested in the big noisy machines we use to get there. Which is also why I dabble in high-power rocketry (I say “dabble” because we only get out to launch maybe once or twice a year). Here’s my own version of the Black Brant X sounding rocket seen in the photo above:
At about 1/3 scale, it’s a little over 5 feet tall. This was launched in southern Ohio, near the WV border. The sound of that motor echoing off the foothills made it all the more impressive. This is a small rocket compared to some of the stuff I’ve seen at club launches.