2nd July, 2014 by Neal Baker
A team of amateur rocket enthusiasts are beer-ing up for their latest endeavour — taking a brew closer than it has even been to outer space.
Brew-st off! The team’s most recent launch in 2012 (Team Numb)
Team Numb – from Portland, Oregon – have already had two successful stellar trips before, twice sending a 15 gallon (68 litre) keg of beer to around 2,000 metres high.
But this time they are preparing to smash that record as they seek to tap into the troposhere with a 650mph trip to 20,000 feet (3.8 miles; 6.1 kilometres).
While this may be far from the wilderness of true space at over six miles from earth, the team’s effort is certainly a step in the right direction for those imagining a gravity-free draft.
According to the team’s kickstarter page – through which they have received enough generous public donation to make the launch a reality – the team’s rocket has two ‘stages’, different segments holding fuel and cargo.
The team gather round to check on their precious payload
The first stage has four of the team’s large ‘N-Class’ motors, which will provide 1,000 pounds of thrust for 3.5 seconds, carrying a 5 gallon (23 litre) payload of beer. After this section of the rocket is spent, the second stage of propulsion – carrying a full 15 gallon (68 litre) keg – will kick in.
Team Numb’s rocket is powered by a solid rocket propellant known as Alumaflame, which is said to look like grey Styrofoam and burns with a violet flame.
After launching and reaching max altitude, a parachute will deploy to bring the beer back to a bumpy but safe landing, at which point the team plan to toast their success by tapping into the kegs and drinking the heavenly brew.
The the launch is planned to take place in September of this year, although the team warns success is not guaranteed.
“No one else has ever tried to launch a full keg,” say Team Numb.