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Welcome to the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group

Linux - The Operating System of the 21st Century TM

SVLUG Events: Launch Win98
...on a Rocket

This event took place as scheduled. See and link to the "Launch Win98" Results page. This page contains the pre-event information and will be left in place for historical reference.

Sunday, June 28, 2-5PM
DeAnza College (Parking Lot B), Cupertino, California

The purpose of this event is to poke some clean fun at Microsoft's "Win98 Launch" event of June 25. We couldn't resist the obvious temptation to playfully turn it around to "Launch Win98". Two Win98 beta CD-ROMs have been acquired and have been cut in half to make four rocket fins. :-)

(When linking to this page, please do not call this a "Win98 Launch" - that's MS's event. Our event is called "Launch Win98". :-)

We will launch the rocket at the BayNAR rocket club's launch on Sunday, June 28 at 2PM at DeAnza College, Parking Lot B because they have a weekly time with the necessary fire marshal and FAA approvals.

Please park in the adjacent lots A or C if you do not have your own rockets to fly. It's only a few more feet...

Ian Kluft
"SVLUG Rocket Scientist" (or something like that...)

Table of Contents

This is a recreational event of the Silicon Valley Linux User's Group. See the SVLUG Home Page or SVLUG Events Page. For more information about the Linux operating system, see Linux Online or Linux HQ. Linux is Open Source software and the only non-Microsoft operating system that's gaining market share.

You can also read and participate in the discussion on Slashdot about this event.

Design of the Rocket

This model rocket isn't a pre-designed kit but it is made from easily-accessible rocket parts. The parts include
  • an 18-inch (about 46cm) Estes BT-55 body tube,
  • a 6-inch (about 16cm) Estes NC-55 nose cone,
  • an Estes engine mount for "normal" 18mm-diameter engines,
  • an Estes launch lug (straw-like tube to hold on to the launch rod),
  • some elastic cord for a shock cord,
  • some cloth for a parachute,
  • and some 5-minute epoxy to put it all together.
  • Of course, we already mentioned that the rocket's fins are four half-CD's that were originally Microsoft Windows 98 beta releases.

Thanks to several BayNAR members for their assistance. Carl Reisinger and Bob Fortune ran "rocksim" simulations on the proposed design. Besides determining the rocket will be stable (which we believe makes it better than Windoze) they projected the following potential altitudes.

Engine Size Altitude
B4-4 232 feet
B6-4 250 feet
C4-5 656 feet
C6-5 594 feet
D21-7 1223 feet
E25-7 1327 feet
B6-4 and C6-5 engines have already been purchased for this event. Some BayNAR members have mentioned the possibility that they might provide a D21-7 or E25-7 for this as well. We'll keep you posted as the launch date approaches.

In other credits for their help... Bob also provided useful construction advice since coincidentally he had just built and flown a CD rocket a few weeks ago. And Russ Cummings also provided construction advice, since this is not a normal rocket construction project.

Rocket Construction and Status

Here's the progress on the rocket construction...
cut CD's in half for fins done 6/21
build engine mount done 6/22
epoxy engine mount in body tube done 6/22
epoxy fins to body tube done 6/22
epoxy launch lug to body tube done 6/24
install shock cord mount in body tube done 6/24
install parachute done 6/24
paint body (tape-over fins & engine first) done 6/24

The rocket is done and ready to fly.

Rocketry Safety Procedures

This is probably the most anyone has wanted to see a model rocket crash before it was even built. :-) Feel free to joke about it - after all, the whole event is just for fun. But realize that we'll follow all the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) safety rules.

But bring your camcorders anyway. Things sometimes do go wrong with rockets and, though it wouldn't be intentional, you could still get what you wanted.

We'll reiterate the answers to some questions that were asked at the June SVLUG meeting when this was quickly announced...

Will the rocket crash like Windoze?
Not on purpose. We're going to follow the safety rules, including a parachute recovery. If it does crash, just like with Windoze, it will be unintentional. (Hopefully it won't be that unreliable!)
Can you make the rocket explode in flight?
No, especially because we'll be launching at DeAnza College somewhat near houses and schools, but also because NAR safety rules don't allow that.
Can you launch the rocket horizontally?
No. That's really dangerous.

2PM Is Only a Start Time

We will launch and recover the rocket several times during the afternoon. So we'll have several chances to feel the suspense of whether Windoze will crash or not. :-)

BayNAR's launches go from 2PM to about 5PM (sometimes later in Summer.) We may also start the "Launch Win98" a bit late since some of the participants will just be getting back from more than two days at Amateur Radio Field Day.

Don't be alarmed if we're not there right as it starts. But the BayNAR people will be there - they're friendly so feel free to introduce yourself to them if you get there ahead of us.

Directions to DeAnza College

Directions provided by Rick Moen:

DeAnza College is at 1250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, near the
intersection of I-280 and CA-85 (which is east of San Jose and
south of Los Altos -- west side of Santa Clara Valley).  From either 
direction on I-280, go to Cupertino and take the Route 85 exit 
southbound.  Take the first exit, Stevens Creek Blvd., turning 
left (east) at the end of the off-ramp.  Go one long block on 
Stevens Creek to a right turn onto S. Stelling Road.  In about 
1/2 block, take the right-hand entrance (turning west) on 
Peppertree Lane into DeAnza College's parking lots.  Avoid the 
middle lot "B", directly ahead, which is the rocket launch field.  
Instead, turn left to lot "C" or right to lot "A".
You may want to see the campus map at 

It is still unclear if a waiver will be available for parking permit enforcement in Lots A and C. (B does not have parking enforcement during the launch because it is reserved by BayNAR and technically closed.) Just in case, bring $2 for an all-day parking permit, available in dispensers in the lot.

Cooperating with BayNAR - Be a Good Guest

This event is getting a lot of attention. Plan on parking in an adjacent parking lot (A or C). Let the people who have rockets to fly park in Parking Lot B.

Remember that we are guests of BayNAR at their launch site. Follow their instructions if you're given any.

If you arrive after launches have started and are parking in Lot B (which means you have a rocket to fly), be aware that the Range Safety Officer will stop the launches while you drive through the "downrange" area of the parking lot. Go ahead and drive to the far side behind the safety line and don't waste any time finding a space to park - they'll wait while your car is in motion.

Once you're there, stay behind the safety lines. If you don't know us, ask at the sign-up table for the SVLUG or Linux people. They'll know who we are.

News Coverage of This Event

We've been informed about the following appearances of this story in the news.

Rocketry-related Links

Just in case any of this looked interesting to you, here's enough to keep you surfing for hours. ;-)

Feedback to SVLUG webmasters.