I like rocket photos and was getting a little jealous looking at all the Copenhagen folk's photos. Where were my rocket's photos?  I'm launching the Project Calliope music satellite with Interorbital Systems (IOS) and even I don't know what my rocket looks like!

At last month's SpaceUpDC meeting, though, a saavy rocket guy name Ben R. had a radical idea.  He suggested I ask for photos.  Imagine that!  So I came up with a great plan.  Having also met a fellow named Kirk W. who had interned with IOS, I thought I'd drug Kirk's coffee, hook up some encephalogram receivers to his temple, and digitize his memories direct into this website!

Or, I could, umm... do Ben's idea and just ask.  Now, I'm not going to reveal my source for these shots of Interorbital's recent semi-secret rocket tests, but that's purely to create an artificial sense of mystery.  But you can imagine the spy-like intrigue it took to acquire these!

Okay, actually, I just wrote one email, and *whoosh*, got a slew of pics!  And apparently someone really was listening, because IOS also stuck one of them on their front page (finally!)   But I, I give you CAPTIONS, too!  Fear me.

Here's the first set, rocket assembly.  Next week I'll sort through and bring you some pictures of the engine test rig and more outdoor rail work.
Common Propulsion Module (CPM)
The first picture shows one test Common Propulsion Module (CPM), or simply 'rocket engine'.  One CPM is equivalent to a sounding rocket, able to reach suborbital/ballistic flight (specs: 145kg up to 310km altitude).  InterOrbital uses 7 CPMs total [updated, my earlier draft miscounted]: 6 for the first stage of its N45 orbital launch vehicle (45kg to 310km orbit injection) along with an 7th CPM for the second stage.

In the above picture, the two guys were IDed for me [I've erased my original IDs, and supply the later ones provided by Randa at IOS]: from lower left to right: Spafecraft technicians Ryan Edblad (white shirt), and Joel Kegel (Long hair and white shirt); Chief designer/engineer Roderick Milliron (Dark hair, black shirt), Kirk Woellert (camera to face) Erik Reedy.

Since Kirk was at their summer test burn but didn't take any cell phone pictures, I need to kill him.  Or convince him to sneak into the Mojave Spaceport for the next round, because I need my picture!  Anyway, the nose is not yet assembled, but in the next picture...
 Nose view, same CPM TV
We see the nose assembly in place.  [Again, updated based on new info]: Kirk, Joel and Ryan.  Ryan's in, like, every picture.  I think he and Erik do everything.

My third picture has someone (seems like Ryan again) working on the same CPM at the tail end during a different stage of assembly.  Later ID from IOS: Joel (long hair), Kirk, Ryan (back to camera).
Interorbital has a small staff, and sooner or later I'll likely learn all their names (one engineer, Joel Kegel, appears in some outdoor shots but I haven't tagged him on the interiors yet, fortunately Randa's updated IDs covered that).  Suffice to say, 'small motivated team' is how most of these new space age ventures are managing it.
 CPM TV, early assembly
And to wrap up...
 30 foot engine test stand (fixed)
The last shot is an outdoor snap of their fixed base 30-foot engine test stand.  Although I don't yet have a picture of the test burn, I'm actually much more interested in the first full CPM launches.  So soon, I'll show some shots of the mobile launch rail assembly and roll-out.

Launching Project Calliope in 2011

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