Sending weather balloons to space is so two years ago. ‘Merica is sending car sized robots to Mars so why can’t a couple of bros with ridiculous engineering skills and a ton of cash shoot for the stars too?
The team of engineers led by master rocketeer Derek Deville, who has been designing high powered missiles on the amateur side since 1996, launched their custom-built 26 ft. rocket named Qu8k (pronounced “Quake”) from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
Qu8k pushed speeds of 2,185 mph (that’s Mach 3 people!) and topped out at an altitude of 121,000 feet or 23 miles in only 92 seconds. To give you an idea of that height, commercial airlines tend to cruise between 30,000 and 40,000 feet.
The Qu8k rocket returned to Earth safely just 8.5 minutes later, landing 3 miles (5 km) from its launch point.
Fun fact, at 121,000 feet the pressure is only 93 pascals. Since the triple point of water is 611.73 pascals, if a desert rat had stowed away on Qu8k its blood would have boiled in its body at body temperature. The average air temperature there this high up is -25 degrees.
The onboard Flip Cam captures the curvature of Earth and the black sky of space. Derek says, “I had fun identifying some of the various geographical features of Northern Nevada and Northern California in your video. The geometric horizon is 685 km ( 428 miles) away, approximately. So you should be able to see Lassen peak and the Pacific ideally.”