Name: Ed Mallory
Age: 62 & 5/6
Birthplace: Ozark, Alabama
Curent home: Whigham, Ga
Family: Married, 4 children, 2 grandchildren
Occupation: Electronics Tech, Primary
Time involved with hobby rocketry: Since the age of about 8 or 10
Specific interests or aspirations with respect to hobby rocketry (other than SS2S):
Recently joined Tripoli, Cert L1 in Sept, and next launch may try for L2.
Accomplishments in rocketry:
Flew first candy rocket in 1960, did a little in telemetry ca 1969-1970, and flew a lot, mostly Estes, in late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Certified L1 in Sept, 2008, trying for L2 Nov or Dec ’08.
Other current projects:
Flying the Chute Controller for the SS2S project, building a 85% scale model of the MiniSShot, building a 1/8 scale model of Viking10, and then a 1/5th scale of Viking 10.
Would like to build a ¼ scale Viking 10, and full scale model of Explorer 1, Vanguard 1. Also would like to build scale models of many of the early launchers.
Other hobby or side interests:
Astronomy, amateur radio, camping, photography, cave exploring, the politics of today, American History, travel, especially in the American West, maybe writing about my memories of growing up in the early days of the space age.
Ed's story in his own words:
I don’t remember a time when I was not interested in rocketry. At the age of 7 or 8, I would roll a piece of school paper into a tube, glue it together, flatten one end, and cut it into a nosecone. Cardboard fins would complete the project.
I had an early interest in science, mostly meteorology and astronomy. My school arranged for a trip to Troy, Alabama, where the college had an observatory with a large telescope. This was for the 1957 close approach of Mars, and, after waiting in line, for days, (remember, I was 12, and 10 minutes waiting in line is days at that age), the tiny, brilliant red dot was awesome. A tiny white fringe on one side could only have been the North Pole Icecap! From then on, I was hooked on astronomy. After getting a telescope for Christmas in 1960, I did a lot of observing -- meteor showers, the planets, the moon, and the sunspots. In 1962, I was setting my scope up to look at the sun, when I saw a tiny, round dot just before it exited the side of the sun. It was not an airplane, and I have often wondered what it was. I think it must have been the Echo "balloon" satellite, because it was during the time period of the Echo experiment.
October 4, 1957. A date that separated the history of the world into 2 ages: pre-space age, and the Space Age. Television was still new, and was black-and-white. Color would come soon, but for the time being B&W was the normal. There was a great excitement, and fear, now that Sputnik was visible to everyone who would look at the sky. Of course, you had to look at the right time of the right day and in the right direction, but everyone who did could see the bright, shining dot of the carrier rocket. Provided the sky was clear, which it was a lot in those days. That dot of light, tiny as it was, always moving on to somewhere else, was proof that if we didn’t retake the lead in SCIENCE, that Russia, would bury us. Just as Chairman Khrushchev said. We had to catch up by putting our own satellite into orbit. It didn’t matter that ours was a 6 inch diameter ball, named Vanguard. It was a matter of National Security, not to mention Nation Pride. So Vanguard, already in the works, was pushed ahead. The pictures of the launch, reaching an apogee of 3 feet, and then that awful crash were everywhere.
Disappointment was universal, and then the Army, which had proposed a project to orbit our first “bird” years before, was given the go ahead. In 30 days, Explorer 1 was built, assembled, and launched into the dark Florida sky. I was watching TV, after my bedtime, when my Father reminded me that I needed to go to bed. I asked if I could finish what I was watching, and he agreed. I thought it was just another rocket launch, but at 10:30 PM, 31 January, 1958, I watched what we had waited so long for; the first American satellite to make it to orbit. And so began the Great Space Race. A little over 12 years later, men would walk on the moon. I was in Barbados then, and heard it on the BBC radio. What an experience!
Today, we take so much for granted. An entire generation now has grown up with the Internet, everyone can own a computer more powerful than all the computers in the world put together in 1960, cell phones, text messaging, instant contact with anyone, anywhere in the world, computer controlled cars, even computer controlled ovens (the microwave). It took Mankind untold millennia to move from foot and horse travel to the steam engine. Another 100 or so years to the internal combustion engine, 40 or so from sail to the airplane, 40 from there to the jet airplane. Fifty four years from the airplane to the first man-made satellite, and only 12 years from there to walking on the moon.
There is a law; I forget the name of the man who made the observation that basically says that computers will double in power every 2 years. The rockets we fly as HPR today, with the chute controllers, altimeters, video cameras, APCP, Hybrid, ANCP, candy, and other motors, were something that we could not imagine in 1960. They would have been in the realm of science fiction, back then, if the rocket flew 10 feet it was a major success. Today, amateurs have launched into space itself, with more to come. It is only a matter of time before launching an amateur rocket into space, beyond that magic 100,000 meters, a mere 62 miles, will be common place. Others will do it: it is the frontier of amateur rocketry today, but then, when it is common place, the new frontier will be into orbit, and then……. Who knows now what the future holds? But it is true that amateurs, in rocketry, radio, science, whatever field, have and do contribute much to the advancement of Mankind. Would it not be in the best interest of all to encourage and support the amateur and sport rocketry hobbies? It is the crucible from which tomorrows scientists, engineers, and technicians come. To those who came before me and laid the ground work, I say “Thank You”. There were so many, and each gave a little something, some more than others. To those who now come after us, I say “Welcome to a most fascinating hobby and future”.
I haven’t contributed as much to rocketry as I would like, the pressures of raising a family, other interests, military service, and a horde of other things have taken the time available. But rocketry has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can remember reading “The Viking Rocket Story”, by Rosen, in the late ‘50's. I was fascinated by the idea of reading temperatures, pressures, directions, speed, and other things from a metal object miles up in the sky, traveling at thousands of miles per hour. There is a picture in that book, taken at 158 miles altitude, the world’s record at the time. It shows a large area of the South West US, from White Sands NM, to The Gulf of Mexico, and South into Mexico itself. There is another picture reverent to the SS2S project. Near the center of the photo is a tiny, triangular, black object. That object is the nose cone, carrying some important research instruments. This photo was taken at 85 miles altitude. That photo, to me, calls and says much. It is a symbol of doing things, building things, and exploring the limits of what we know and can do. In the early 1950’s, it took the most advanced technology available to get that photo. Eighty-five miles is only a few miles more than what the SS2S project hopes to do using an amateur propellant in an amateur designed and built rocket.
In doing so, we can expand our knowledge and capabilities to… who knows? Those of us who saw the rise of the Space Age will not know what tomorrow holds for those who come after us. But to me, at least, every time I hear a rocket being launched, and the excitement of the young people doing it, it brings back the excitement of the dawn of the Space Age.. Rockets are only happy when in the air, flying free. Make a rocket happy today!