Introduction – Space Frogs (1)

(I try to link to the products I used so you can find them more easily. If you purchase them from these links I may receive compensation from affiliate programs. I am not employed or influenced by the manufacturers or distributors.)

I think just about everyone has taken up a new hobby during the COVID pandemic. It just so happens that I spent a fair portion of our time in “quarantine” playing Kerbal Space Program, which inspired me to rediscover my love of rocketry. It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, though, without a pile of convoluted tech. As it stands, I’ve only built one such rocket, and it only carried a small, somewhat dysfunctional remote telemetry package. Now I will start with the second generation of what I’ll nickname the markdart, and I’m going to try my best to blog about it.

I’m not making any commitments about the quality or accuracy of this blog. I’m not an engineer, this is not an “instructable”, and you should assume nothing I write about is safe, well planned, accurate, or best-practice.

What I do hope you take away from this blog is an inspiration to explore science and engineering without fear.

Kerbal Space Program

What do frogs have to do with rocketry? It’s not about the ballistic flight of amphibians post-leap, or the aerodynamic drag of pear-shaped amphibian bodies. It’s about simulation, exploration and inspiration.

Kerbal Space Program (KSP) is a game that lets players build and fly rockets and space planes, while employing realistic-enough physics modeling that teaches physics and engineering concepts like aerodynamics and orbital mechanics. It’s a beast of a game, with infinite possibilities, and some really fun missions that push players to build toward planetary exploration and scientific discovery.

The best part about KSP is that while fun and engaging, it’s a powerful learning tool for all ages, since it lets you experiment without fear of the consequences of real-world failures. Rockets are expensive and fail hard, so it’s way easier to experiment on a computer than on a real launchpad.

After countless days spent on KSP imaginary rockets weren’t enough, though. It was time to build something real.