Some of the most awesome things about LCA are events that are not part of the official programme. These include the affectionately named BOFs, and also various things happening before and after the conference proper.
On the Saturday just after the conference, I was lucky enough that I had sufficient time before my flight home to be able to tag along to a hobbyist rocket launch meet, and watch the friendly locals, as well as the well known to the open source community rocket enthusiasts Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard, send a variety of projectiles high up into the sky! I jumped at the chance to go because my son who is 13 did a launch of a small rocket through scouts, so I thought I’d better get some pictures and video for him :-)
The next shot gives an idea of the scale of an assembled rocket:
The rockets launch from the middle of a paddock.
The rocketry club is really into safety, for obvious reasons. They have to get licenses to be allowed to launch, and there is a ritual each time a rocket is launched – yelling out “Sky Is Clear”, “Range Is Clear” before a launch can proceed.
This video I shot is of a small rocket launching.
One of the other linux.conf.au’ers Augur posted some other vides to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcFwcKbYU3Q66PIUck_Haew
Watching things go bang is always fun, but these guys take it to a whole new level. If you listen carefully to the video a few minutes after the launch, notice the Android phone and the laptop actually speak the telemetry data…
This works roughly as follows: there is a computer built on Altus Metrum components in the rocket, this sends position and other data back to a receiver connected to an antenna that the flyer (is that the right word?) is holding and pointing in the general direction of the rocket… the data is then relayed via bluetooth to the phone or laptop and reported via speech synthesis. “Range one thousand two hundred seventy metres. Bearing thirty degrees south west elevation forty two degrees.”
I believe one of the rockets made it over eight kilometers high (I didn’t manage to record the exact amount!)
Eventually they run out of puff and start falling back. A parachute then deploys bringing it to ground, and a couple of km hike ensues.
I believe the following rocket is known as the Pink Freak. My daughter loved the shoes when I showed her the pics…
Alongside everything else, there was a quadcopter. When I first arrived, this was keeping a couple of the younger kids amused. But once the meet started moving, I realised it had a HD camera, and was used to monitor the rocket launches – and the pilot (this must be the right word!) had a VR headset, not an Occulus, but a new one I had not heard of, a SkyZone(?), to fly the thing way up and record the launch! It sounds like a mosquito in the videos.
I had a lot of other photos and video but many had people and I haven’t managed to make contact with the club to check if it is OK to post them, so for now I haven’t.