"Now, 7 years into the rollercoaster journey, he has finally achieved that goal with the latest version of his Scout rocket."
Many things need to come together to launch AND land a rocket on standard hobby-grade solid fuel rocket motors. A core component is stabilization of the rocket during the entire flight, which achieved using a thrust-vectoring control (TVC) mount for the rocket motors and a custom flight computer loaded with carefully tuned guidance software. Until recently, the TVC mounts were 3D printed, but Joe upgraded it to machined aluminum to eliminate as much flex and play as possible.
Since solid-fuel rockets can't technically be throttled, [Joe] originally tried to time the ignition time of the descent motor in such a manner that it would burn out as the rocket touches down. The ignition time and exact thrust numbers simply weren't repeatable enough, so in his 2020 landing attempts, he achieved some throttling effect by oscillating the TVC side to side, reducing the vertical thrust component. This eventually gave way to the final solution, a pair of ceramic pincers which block the thrust of the motors as required.
"I have been trying to do what you just saw for seven years," Barnard says in the video, remembering that he started the project back in the fall of 2015. "Not because it's revolutionary or game-changing for model rocketry, but because it's a really cool project, and I knew I would learn a lot." (On Twitter, Barnard added that "I had no background in aero, electrical engineering, coding, etc so it took a lot of trial and error.")
And in the video Barnard made sure to thank his 690 supporters on Patreon — and also shared a surprise. He'd printed out a sheet of paper with the name of every one of his Patreon supporters, rolled it up, and inserted it into the hollow center of his rocket before the flight. "So if you support, you were part of this."
The Patreon account offers more details on Barnard's mission. "Learning by experimentation is the most effective way to gain a deep understanding of new concepts, which is why providing hands-on experience with advanced rocketry components is important for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts."
And the video ends with Bernard describing the next projects he'll attempt:
More SpaceX-like vertical landings
A 9-foot model of SpaceX's Starship Super Heavy rocket
A special secret project known only as "the meat rocket"
An actual model-rocket space shot — that is, a rocket that ascends over 100 kilometers
Read more of this story at Slashdot.