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Model rocket enthusiasts are learning how to do vertical landings

Aryan Kapoor’s model rocket blasting off on a baseball diamond.
It took Aryan Kapoor three years to land a model rocket vertically. | Screenshot: YouTube

Joe Barnard (or BPS.Space) and Aryan Kapoor are two model rocket enthusiasts who’ve spent years working to advance the hobby with innovative ways to precisely steer model rockets and land them vertically instead of just watching them parachute back to Earth after a launch. Despite many failures and setbacks, they’ve each succeeded in recreating SpaceX’s Falcon 9 landing capabilities at a much, much smaller scale and without billions of dollars of funding.

Barnard, who studied music production in college — not aerospace engineering — spent seven years designing, building, and perfecting various custom components, including a custom thrust vectoring mechanism for model rocket engines.

Relying on a pair of servo motors that are geared down…

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