LUNAR Race to Space Launch

July 17, 1999

From left to right (for now till I get better info)
Shades and dark fedora: unknown; shades and white T: Anthony Cooper; shouder bag, glasses, no hat: Geoff Canham; behind him in fedora and shades: Joe Heckenbach (I think); next to unknown partially obscured by big Sat V is: unknown; to right of big Sat V is Bob Herzberg with his 6" x 6' Sat V (very cool); red plaid shirt and beater hat: Bill Orvis; young boy in red shirt and hooded sweats: Miles Mack; behind him in black T: Ryburn Ross; behind Ryburn: Terry Swift; next to Terry in blue T: Alan  Marcum (I think), next to him with glasses: Lee Teicheira; dopey looking guy with shades fedora and blue shirt: Bob Fortune (c'est moi!); next to me also pointing to his rocket: Tom Hail; last on right in front of his antique Sat 1b: Jack Hagerty.
photo by Anthony Cooper

Launch Reports

Vehicle Inventory Sheet


Vehicle One - kit - motor

Vehicle Two - kit - motor

Vehicle Three - kit - motor

Tom Hail Saturn V - 2157 - E
Anthony Cooper Saturn V - 2157 - G Mercury Atlas - Estes - 24 mm?
Bob Fortune Saturn V - 2157 - E
Brett Buck Little Joe II - scratch - C
Bill Orvis Saturn V - 2157 - D! Saturn V - Neubauer - 1/2A Saturn V - Neubauer - 1/2A
Jack Hagerty Saturn 1B - K29 - for looks  only, no touching, fondling, spindling or mutilating
Lee Teicheira Saturn V - 2157 - E Saturn V - Neubauer - 1/2A
Alan M. Marcum Saturn V - 2001 - E
Geoff Canham Mercury-Atlas - 2111
Joe Heckenbach Sputnik-Too - '64 MRN - A
Bob Hertzberg Saturn V - scratch - H or I   6" x 72" !!
Greg Mack Saturn V - 2001 - E
Ryburn Ross Saturn V - 2157 - D (gasp)
Terry Swift Saturn V - 2157 - G


Apollo 11 Splashes Down For 30th Anniversary in Livermore!

Thirty years ago on July 20th a human first tiptoed on the moon. Youngsters worldwide watched their TV's in rapt attention;  some witnessed the spectacle in silence, some asking questions, some rushing outside to glance at the moon and wonder.

Those adolescents have grown up now and are flying rockets themselves, albeit a bit smaller variety, but the dreams first imagined on that July day  decades ago are rekindled with every launch of every rocket they fly.  Come see these children of Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury one score and 10 years after that first lunar footfall, as they pay tribute to the vision of the Race to Space by flying replicas of the spacecraft from that era.

The LUNAR rocket club in Livermore is holding a commemorative launch July 17 at their usual launch site in Robertson Park.  This launch will be a powerful reminder to anyone who remembers the glory days of the "Race to Space" either directly or from the history books.  Hundreds of rocketeers and spectators from around the Bay Area will attend this fabulous launch, some bringing their favorite "Space Race" rockets to display and to launch for the crowd.

Date - July 17, 1999
Time - Approximately 8:30 AM until 1 PM
Place - Robertson Park, Livermore (next to the soccer fields)

Rocket models scheduled to be on display and/or flown:
        German V2
        Russian Vostok (first manned spacecraft)
        Mercury Redstone (first US manned spacecraft)
        Mercury Atlas (first US orbital flight - John Glenn)
        Apollo/Saturn 1B (first Apollo missions and later Skylab crew flights)
        Apollo/Saturn V (moon flights)
        Space Shuttle

For more information on the launch, visit the LUNAR web site
or call the hotline at (925) 443-8705, or  Jack Hagerty at  (925) 455-1143 or Bob Fortune at (408) 926-6428.

If you have a rocket from this era and would like to or plan on flying
it, please contact me by email so I can make special arrangements to
have you and your rocket included in a special program.

Bob Fortune


Some launch reports (from Rec.Models.Rockets)

From Ryburn Ross:

Hey Everybody,

this report is as long as hell, and probably has some
minor errors here. Sorry I guess, I got carried away :)

Well, today the space race of the 60's was revisited at the Lunar Model
Rocketry Club in Livermore California. The event, coordinated and
arranged by Bob Fortune, a space pioneer in his own right, involved the
setup and launch of about 10 Saturn V's and other important landmark
vehicles. The models, most of them the new Estes Saturn V's with plastic
wraps, were first placed on a large rack someone was kind enough to
bring. At about 10:00, the festivities began with a large group picture
of the Saturn's and their respective owners. I count myself lucky to
have been standing within 100 feet of the rockets much less being able
to claim one of them as my own. After the picture, everyone preceeded to
prepare his or her rocket for flight, meticulously checking and
re-checking each step to insure a successful flight.
        I walked out to my pad after preparing my Saturn V, feeling the 13
ounce monstrosity sag in my arms. As I walked past one group of boy
scouts I heard a young rocket scientist say with astonishment "Wow...
that rocket looks really cool..." I smiled grimly to myself, wondering,
would it still look "cool" after its first flight.
        The wind calmed and the grass quietly rustled, all eyes were glued to
the concotions of paper and plastic sitting one pads 1-10, anticipating,
eagerly awaiting the launch, much as the crowds at Kennedy must have
been 30 years ago yesterday.
        The LCO cleared his throat, knowing full well the honor he had bestowed
upon himself, for he would, although not launching a rocket himself,
play a key role in the voyage of each and every one. With a calmness
none of we builders could feel, he slowly began the announcement. "We
are now ready to start launching the Saturn V's." The only sound to be
heard was the slight cackling of the loadspeaker, as all seemed to hold
their breath and anticipate the countdown. With an almost casual tone
the LCO began... "5....4....3....2....1....Launch!" And...... nothing.
Failed ignitor. "The ignitor failed" the LCO announced. "Pad 2, going in
5...4...3...2...1...Launch." A puff could be heard over the dead silence
of the midafternoon as the Crapperhead ignitor in the E15-4W of the
motor "chuffed." Groans of frustration could be heard over the cackle of
the loadspeaker. The LCO, unwilling to lose the crowd, quickly said,
"We'll go on to pad 3, 5...4...3...2...1...Launch!" This time the motor
anwered our beckon as the heavy craft struggled off the ground. The
Saturn V flying on a D12-3 slowly forced its way into the now seemingly
thick air, struggling against the pull of the earth, on its way skyward,
and then, no.... the model arced over at about 50 feet up, seeming to go
unstable. The dead silence of the launch was broken by the murmed
worrying of the crowd as key phrases graced the air. "Oh no!, its
'cruise misililng.'" "Watch out." "It's coming this way." And the final
cry of "HEADS UP!" as the mighty ship crashed into the ground on its
side, smoke continuing to pour out the rear, and now, pouring out the
front as well, only a little too late.
        After this flight, and two more ignitor failures, the rack that my
rocket rested on came up. The rack that held pad 9, my pad, came up. Pad
7 was up first. On pad 7 rested a beautifully finished Saturn V, not
unlike my own, sitting on a F12 Blackjack motor, ready and willing leave
the earth. There would be no delays this time.
        The LCO, again clearing his throat, started into the standard routine
"On pad 7 we have another Saturn, this one flying on an F12." "It's
going up in 5..4..3..2..1..Launch." With black smoke pouring from its
tail, the model rose slowly into the air slightly wobbling. At about
200' the model began thrashing as if it had seemingly, as the first
Saturn had, gone unstable. The model quickly turned to its side and
descended to the ground to a rough landing against the still wet grass.
        I had begun to perspire lightly now... 4 ignitor failures and 2
crashes. No successes! But there was hope yet, for before my model would
fly, a primer coated Saturn V sat menacingly on its pad. Looking, for
all its nakedness, ready and willing to send the first men to the moon,
as if in a rush to beat the Russians to the moon NASA had put all its
painters to work helping to build and had, in the process, abandoned all
hope of allowing them to arrive there in style.
        The crowd was less tense this time. Even if this model did crash, it
was unpainted, and looked less vulnerable for it. "Another Saturn V on
pad 8" the LCO said with the envy clear in his voice. "We're going to
send this one up in Launch!" The rocket slowly ascended
with a white pillar of smoke chasing it into the heavens, rising to 100,
200, 300, and possibly even 400' on its E15-4, and then slowly turning
to point towards the ground again, and just as everyone began to hold
their breath again... the upper section shot off the base tube and 3
nylon chutes spread their canopies. A sucess!!, a total sucess!!! The
cheer, starting loadly and slowly diminishing in volume, congradulated
the builder on a perfect flight.
        Now, of the saturn V's, only mine remained. The crowd once again
centered its attention on the pads to gaze at my rocket, my freshly
painted, perfectly clean, nearly perfect. With a pang of anxiety I
looked at the meticulously masked and painted sections, the troublesome
decals, and everything else from the fairings on the bottom to the small
fragile tower on the top. Should I call off the launch???? Did I really
want to do this???
        Almost as an answer to my question, the LCO began his spiel. "And on
Pad 9 we have another Saturn V". "We're going to send 'im up in
5....4....3....2....1....Launch!" And as an answer to his demand the
motor sputtered, then lept to life, a white flame flickering from
beneath the silver fairings as the heavy, bulky, draggy, and extremely
beautiful rocket slowly took to the air. My heart sunk to my knees as I
gazed up as the rocket slowly burned its way into the blue void above.
The realization hit me like a brick to the face: it was really
working!!!! That was my rocket slowly spinning towards the moon millions
of miles distant. "Yes!" I heard a voice shout. Had that been me? My
mind was racing as my feet were slowly moving my hand to my head as I
gazed upwards to the sky above, knowing that above the deep blue of day
reside the bright stars of night and the moon along with them. I now
heard the voice again, still disconnected, as the model slowly turned
over at about 400', this time pleading... "Please a 'chute, I need a
chute." Had that been me again? As if in answer to the desperate voice a
load bang shattered the quite of day as the forward section of the model
shot forward and bright plastic canopies filled the sky above. Both
sections of the model were drifting slowly down under full canopie, to a
landing a mere 50 yards away. Letting out a pent up breath I hadn't
realized I'd been holding I consider whether I should jump for joy or
scream and instead sprinted to my Saturn V. Everything forgotten but its
safety. Upon reaching it I looked the entire model over. All the decals
were still attached and there were no breaks, scratches, bends, or
crimps anywhere on the model. A simple satisfied "perfect" escaped my
lips as I basked in the knowledge that my Saturn V, my pride and joy,
was perfectly okay. As I drifted off into oblivion I heard the cheer of
the crowd as the applauded the launch of another Saturn V.
Ryburn Ross

To which these people replied:

Great report, wish I could have been there. I know how you felt watching
it go for the first time. So far we have 16 successful launches with our
2 Saturns. We've flown the original 9 times on D12-3's with no problems
and with the 5 engine version we have 7 great flights using 1 D12-5 and
4 C6-5. We're hoping to get them both up sometime this week to celebrate
the 30th anniversary. Congrats on your flight.

If you got any pictures, be sure to post them to the binaries group

Trust No One

A great report.  I can totally relate to the "should I launch my beauty"

Chuck Straka

Cool report, Ryburn...

Gene Costanza

The Dream is Alive in you, Ryburn. Never let it die. We will get back to the Moon
and Beyond because of men and women like you. Thank you. Sue

Sue McMurray

Hey Ryburn,

Wasn't that a hoot?

A very fun launch it was indeed, even better to enjoy it again in print,
great report!  Even better was the chance to push the buttons on all
those Sat V's, man oh man, there sure were a lot of interesting flight
profiles yesterday. : )

I posted a Anthony Cooper's first group photo to this site:

Sorry if I was not able to name everyone, if you can help with the names
please let me know.

It was a terrific day yesterday, I hope the photo conveys some of the
wonderful vibes.


Bob Fortune

7/19/99 - 13:45pst

Nice sorry.  Consider having it published
in the local rag.

-dan- Davis

Your report brought tears to my eyes.  Excellent!

Bob Chmara
NAR, HUVARS, TRA, Team1, L2,


Thank you!
Flew mine today at HVRC!
RIP Pete.

From Terry Swift:

I flew my Apollo 11 Saturn V at LUNAR also. It was one of the last
flights of the day. As others have said, build them to fly. I was
hesitant because of the other Sat V mishaps and it was a maiden flight
and I had only gotten about four hours of sleep putting the final
touches on - and what if I forgot something?

Well, the RCO said one more high power rack....and I said go for it.

Thanks to Andrew of Suborbital Machines, and after running VCP and wRASP
at 2 in the morning, I made a last minute switch and went with...a

I had built the Saturn with a 29mm MMT and 4 A cluster. Plywood
centering rings for the top and bottom with 3 paper rings in the middle.
20 minute epoxy for all critical joints, internal launch tube, plywood
inserts for the fins and TTW and last spray foam to puff out the fin

Took it out to the pad..the RCO was suspicious..and I had to agree. I
had written in that it had a 7 second delay (I'm sorry, I had been
flying mainly 7 seconders all day). He also (probably) didn't catch that
it came in at 50 oz's.

I did make one big mistake. I didn't listen and tried to run the video
camera and only caught the first few seconds of flight, because by then
the emotion got to me and I decided what the heck watch the flight. It
was also hard to aim the camera because of the WAHOO's escaping from me
and the possibility that it wouldn't deploy the chutes from (I and wRASP
guess)  600'. In fact the forward section did deploy very slowly (150'

Both sections did survive and came down about 1000' down range and was
recovered by one of the watching kids. Only suffered a broken tower at
two of the legs and a slight ding to one of the fins that was stopped by
the plywood core.

Final note: some day I'll finish the custom electronics for the cluster
and fly it again.
Construction note: I had to install 6 ounces of weight to the CM to try
and balance out the weight gain at the rear. This moved the CG from the
American flags to the top part of the 1st Interstage wrap.

I hope that I can come down from the elation and be able to think of
other things at work.


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