The Farmer Astronaut" Who Dreamed THIS Up?

I love that line. It smells like … victory!

Kids, these days. Back in the thirties through at least the fifties there were plenty of books and stories about people building rockets in their backyards. A lot of these were about folks just experimenting* with engines and models, but there were others about people fantastically stumbling upon space drives (Fredric Brown’s “This Mad Universe”, which is admittedly a parody of the genre. There are lotsa others), or even building their own ground-to-orbital craft (Raymond Z. Gallun’s “The Planet Strappers”, among others). I’m surprised nobody’s done this before now.

*Heinlein’s “Rocket Ship Galileo” has a bunch of teenage boys experinmenting with rockets and fuels, just as later happened with the guy that wrote “Rocket Boys” (that became the movie “October Sky”). He admits that Heinlein was big influence, but never mentions this book for some reason. Hard to believe he didn’t read it.

The big difference in Varley’s book was they had a completely new technology for propulsion (the squozer?), so their biggest worry was life support, which they mostly did with surplus Soviet equipment. Building a rocket gets a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about the engines.

I’ll see your Heinlein and raise you a Mushroom Planet.

And don’t forget that fine film, Nude on the Moon, the heart-warming story of two scientists who build their own rocket and take it to the Moon, which turns out to look exactly like a Florida nudist colony. Now that’s a movie for ya!

I saw the preview and also immediately thought of Salvage I (although I forgot the title until I read this thread). And I think the WMD line is funny - an overbearing Uncle Sam’s incompetence concisely and appropriately mocked.

You may have just talked me into seeing this POS.

Not to mention the granddaddy of space drive stories “The Skylark of Space.” The difference is, today we know what it takes, and they didn’t back then. Maybe the guy will land on a habitable Venus while he’s at it, to mention another plot device okay in the '40s but not so okay now. (Unless you’re writing a deliberately retro satire.)

Some folks calls it a rocket, I calls it a launch vehicle, mm-hm

Hehe. So, you wouldn’t actually be concerned with the possible “fall out” of an unsuccesfull launch?

Heck, a couple months ago, I saw a thread around here by folks supporting the idea of banning mountain climbing because a couple of chuckleheads had the gall to put Search and Rescue teams lives’ at risk…

But I presume that the script will have a cheesy (read: “unlikely”) way around the government trying to put a stop to this…

Mission Accomplished… :wink:

ouryl also misspelled Rocketship Galileo.

( :smack: On preview, that’s already been mentioned . . .)

See also the Heinlein short story “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” and a sequel (forget the title) where the entrepeneur who started the rush to the Moon is prevented from even visiting it by “paternalistic” government safety regulations.

Possible antecedent:
Miss Pickerel Goes to Mars

Another possibility:
The Man from P.I.G.
Although, that’s more a tale of interstellar intrigue, with pigs, than a farmer in space story.

I mentioned this already, but there was a very credible ‘backyard rocket’ in development in the 1980’s. Robert Truax was an ex-military rocket engineer, and he was building a manned suborbital rocket that probably would have worked, but I believe he ran out of money. He called it the ‘Volksrocket’.

Here are the specs:

Empty Weight 1,100 lbs
Loaded Weight 3,100 lbs
Thrust 4,000 lbs
Length 24 feet

Flight Profile: Max Q reached 60 seconds after launch at 30,000 feet. Burnout at 113,000 feet 100 seconds after launch with a maximum speed of 3,300 fps.

After burnout it would have climbed much higher on momentum - just like the first Mercury rockets.

THe X-3 wasn’t just a pipedream. He had a lot of it built, had a working motor, etc. You can see some details here. He planned on much bigger rockets after the X-3.

Truax wasn’t a crank. He was an eccentric, but he had a solid history of rocket design with the Navy and in private industry.

I agree with you; the joke totally misses the mark. It’s as though the writer has a vague recollection of some news story about the “US Government” being unable to find extant WMDs, and thus being shown to be incompetent. The trouble is, when most people hear “WMDs not found by US officials” they think of Iraq, and the truth of that story was pretty much the opposite of what would need to have happened for the joke to be remotely funny. Horrible writing.

Then you can buy one, like Russell Seitz did. The cite isn’t very much, but he was Vice of MITSFS my first year, so I’ve got first hand knowledge that this story is true. The government was extremely upset. He was known as the world’s sixth nuclear power in the club.

If the review is correct, my objection to the movie is not that it is implausible, but that they didn’t have enough respect for the audience to come up with a way to make it plausible.

Oh man, Mushroom Planet. I had totally forgotten about that.

I was in like the fourth or fifth grade when I read it, but I think I remember that they were pretty decent kids’ books. Written in the fifties, though, so that might tell you something about their style.


Forget rockets, use a plane like in Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers.

But he has a* dream*! It may be crazy, dangerous, impractical, and harmful to others but it is his *dream * and therefore, it is completely sacred.

You can not mock this movie.

This one I think I can answer. The FAA would require that you get permission to enter controlled airspace (which is pretty much everything above a few thousand feet, depending on where you are). If nothing else, it allows them to route other air traffic out of the way (military flights, civilian transports, Jimbo’s rocket on the pasture in the next county, etc.).

If you neglect to get permission from the FAA first, and your pipe dream ends abruptly with a mid-air collision with a 767 full of schoolchildren or something, be certain that the FAA will be on your ass like hobos on a ham sandwich. So yeah, The Government™ would have considerable cause to be causing your problems if you were neglecting to make the proper arrangements with them ahead of time before lobbing rockets into the air.

That said, I haven’t seen the trailers for this movie, and have no idea how good or bad it looks, so shrug.