The uses for beer are multiple: it’s a great social lubricant, it works pretty well for conditioning your hair and, apparently, you can use it as the pay-load for two-stage rocket. No seriously, that last one isn’t a joke. A team of rocket enthusiasts is actually planning to build and launch a rocket, including a payload of two beer kegs, into the atmosphere and they’re funding it on Kickstarter.
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The team behind the project, which goes by the name Team Numb, actually has something of a history of strapping beer kegs to rockets, having first done so in 2008. That rocket in that flight reached a height of 6 200 feet (1890 meters) with a 15 gallon (57 litre) keg, which was recovered and drunk from in the wake of the launch.
In 2012 meanwhile, the same team managed to launch another keg 7 700 feet (2347 metres).
It’s current project, it says, would see it fly two kegs — one 5 gallon (19 litre) and one 15 gallon — to a height of around 20 000 feat (just over 6 000 metres) and a top speed of nearly 1 050km/h.
Much of the Kickstarter funding, which has already passed its initial goal, is set to be used on stuff like propellants, motor hardware, parachutes and electronics and rocket airframe materials (the beer, it seems, will be sponsored).
As Team Numb points out, there are always going to be risks in an undertaking of this kind:
The main risk involved in this flight are in igniting all 4 motors in the 1st stage, on the ground and all at once. This is called ‘Clustering’ and is one of the most complex and difficult things to do in High Powered Rocketry. To address this issue we are dedicating the 1st half of this years flying season to perfecting our simultaneous ignition system.
We’re guessing that no one will be sampling any of the beer immediately prior to the launch then.