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  #1  
Old 04-21-2017, 04:02 PM
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Default An interesting little pamphlet.

This little 8 page pamphlet was included with a vintage kit that I recently bought on ebay. I don't recall ever seeing or having an "Alpha Mini Book of Model Rocketry". I can't find a date stamp in it, but judging from the contents I'm guessing early 1980's.

I like the Three Mile Island photo that was allegedly shot by an AstroCam 110 on page 7!
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:47 PM
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There were TONS of those around in the late 70's thru mid-80's.
I think they put them in a bunch of kits back then.
I'm sure I have some in one of my storage bins.

I think out of all the times I flew my Astro-Cam 110, I got maybe 3 decent photos from it. I know one was from a B14-5, one was from a C6-7, and one was using the 24mm Challenger II booster using an old Composite Dynamics 24mm full 40n-sec E20-7. Most of the time all I got was a blurry mess.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:58 PM
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That's interesting. I'm surprised I don't recall ever seeing this pamphlet before.

+1 to the Astrocam 110 photos. Of ALL the launches I made with the Astrocam I have exactly (2) clear photos. My most epic fail with the Astrocam happened almost 30 years ago: I had a perfect day for flying. Huge, vacant field, no wind, clear weather, good light. I had a 24 exposure cartridge in the Astrocam. After it popped the laundry on the 15th launch, it caught a thermal and drifted east and came down in a retention pond.

I was so pi$$ed I didn't even bother to fish it out. I just HAD to go for that 15th flight!
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:42 PM
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That happened twice to me, first time was after about 10 flights. 2nd to last flight was on a maniac with a D12-7 that went great. Repeated it again but the wind hung it on a phone line and it was gone the next day.

On a different AC, on a pretty fall day, I had about 10 great flights, and finished up my motors and packed up my reinforced launch pad. My friend (who was flying his camroc with hand punched film) said "I have another C". We loaded it on his porta-pad, the rod seemed loose but not enough to cause concern. Sure enough, it took off at 45 degrees and stripped the chute on ejection and plopped right in the top of a tree. I knocked on the door of the house and gave them my email address. 6 Months later I got an email asking me to come over, they had the camera! They did not know where the booster went, I assumed it fell at a different time and was picked up near the street. I threw the camera in a drawer assuming the pictures were ruined, but my friend suggested letting it dry out for a few days then get the roll developed. I got surprisingly good pics after that long outside in the snow and rain. There were a few streaks but it was worth getting it developed.
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:52 PM
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By the way, on the Astrocam pic, is that taken by the Scott Pearce later of Aerotech?
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffyjeep
This little 8 page pamphlet was included with a vintage kit that I recently bought on ebay. I don't recall ever seeing or having an "Alpha Mini Book of Model Rocketry". I can't find a date stamp in it, but judging from the contents I'm guessing early 1980's.

I like the Three Mile Island photo that was allegedly shot by an AstroCam 110 on page 7!


If it is the same Three Mile Island photo they ran in their catalog for a while, it was credited to Scott Pierce, who, if it is the same Scott Pierce, was later an employee of Aerotech as I recall.

I generally had good results with my Astrocam beginning when they were first released in the early summer of '79. Even did the 'rear view' comversion thing on it in the early 80s and those images worked out pretty good too. Of course 110 negative size ain't gonna give you Ansel Adams panarama quality stuff, but for late 70s and ealy 80s aerial photography, it was not that bad.

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Old 04-21-2017, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5x7
By the way, on the Astrocam pic, is that taken by the Scott Pearce later of Aerotech?


Oops. Well, obviously we were composing messages of similar content at the same time!


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Old 04-21-2017, 08:15 PM
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Ha!
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffyjeep
That's interesting. I'm surprised I don't recall ever seeing this pamphlet before.

+1 to the Astrocam 110 photos. Of ALL the launches I made with the Astrocam I have exactly (2) clear photos. My most epic fail with the Astrocam happened almost 30 years ago: I had a perfect day for flying. Huge, vacant field, no wind, clear weather, good light. I had a 24 exposure cartridge in the Astrocam. After it popped the laundry on the 15th launch, it caught a thermal and drifted east and came down in a retention pond.

I was so pi$$ed I didn't even bother to fish it out. I just HAD to go for that 15th flight!


LOL Yep... I had one I was flying on a 24 exposure roll and sure enough, about that lucky 13 to 15, the parachute stripped half its shrouds and she came down "hot"... even landing on a disked up turning row, the ground was still hard enough to pop the back off the camera and expose the friggin' roll of film... it didn't even pop out all the way, but it was out enough that landing in full sunlight fried the roll.

After that, I just did the 12 exposure rolls and sometimes didn't even finish with them, and sent them in with 8-10 exposures done. MUCH better luck that way...

The other thing is, after I had done 2-3 rolls of film, the plastic fin can on the stock rocket that the Astrocam came with was cracking pretty badly from the undersize parachute the Astrocam used to prevent the whole thing from drifting off and being lost... I HAD learned that basically the ONLY engine you could really count on for decent pics was the -7 delays... the -5 delays were usually either blurred (rocket not stabilized from the "flip" at apogee and was wiggling or spinning too much at ejection) or it popped right in the middle of the flip right at apogee... The -7's gave the rocket enough time to complete the "flip" at apogee and pick up enough speed to stabilize itself again on the way down to get a clear pic.

I switched to the "Maniac" rocket (the "Challenger II" or whatever "D" launch vehicle for Astrocam had been discontinued by that time, and the "Maniac" took its place-- basically the same BT-56 rocket with extremely tacky sticker decals and a crappy color scheme-- same tube size, nosecone, and plastic tail fin unit). The D-powered Maniac was a MUCH better booster for the Astrocam, and again, the -7 motors, it usually turned in some really nice flights and usually got more decent usable pics than not. -5's were still a TOTAL crapshoot and yielded a usable photo maybe 20%-30% of the time... the -7 motors were more like 60%-70% of the time...

One time I had the Astrocam bust loose from the shock cord some sort of way-- the rocket came down with the chute but no camera! I was videotaping the launch and my little brother was actually launching it for me, and he saw EXACTLY where the camera had impacted in the cotton field, which at the time was growing waist-high cotton in 40 inch rows. I happened to catch him on the video walking out into the field to retrieve it, before I turned off the camera and waded out across the rows of cotton with him... we looked for about an hour without luck, and were about to give up, and I said, "let's watch the video"... so we did, and sure enough, you could see him walking out straight toward where it impacted, but he had got off the straight line when he got out into the field and got lost... so we took the video back to Grandma's, popped the tape into the VHS and put it up on the big honkin' (for those days!) 27 inch tube type TV, and watched the tape several times, and since I was standing almost directly behind him, we could line up with some landmarks on the horizon to get a bearing out into the field. We went back and followed his exact trail out into the field, following a straight line to the landmark on the horizon, and we ended up within 3 feet of it-- reached down, picked it up, dusted it off, and we were golden... the cotton leaves broke its fall just enough (along with taping the back cover on, extra insurance I started doing after having it pop open once before and ruining the film) and once we put on a better shock cord leader, we were all good...

I dunno what happened to all my Astrocam pics from the 80's... they were in my stuff under the stairs at Grandma's, ended up upstairs when all my stuff got moved up there, and then disappeared when my brother moved what was left into the garage and then over to my house after Grandma passed away. Guess they're gone...

I always thought it was something of a pity that they didn't "upscale" the Astrocam to use the 35mm film format-- with the larger exposure size, (negative size) it would have made MUCH better pictures than the dinky half-postage stamp size 110 film negatives did... even with a less than stellar "glass" or lens... but alas, I guess tooling cost was too much and Estes instead chose to come out with the rather pitiful Oracle digital video rocket, and then the "Astrovision" successor to it (which sadly was about obsolete by the time it came out, as it was FAR surpassed by even the early keychain-fob cams available at the time). Now film is pretty much obsolete anyway...

Later! OL J R
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  #10  
Old 04-21-2017, 11:07 PM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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I remember this one.

There was an earlier "Alpha Book."

it was a thick digest sized book. The cover paper had an interesting texture. I don't remember the contents.

Ah, here it is:

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/nostalgia/alpha00.html

The Alpha Book looks like a kind of a cross between the Technical Manual bound into the catalogs, and the Design Book. The latter came with my starter set in 1970. I had archaic plans from the very early MRN days, plus a number of technical reports. One of these might have been the wind tunnel plans.
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