We’ve all seen the amazing footage of SpaceX rockets taking off, then landing intact vertically. While this is a difficult maneuver, even for very well-funded and innovative aerospace companies, that hasn’t stopped amateurs from attempting to jump into this areana.
James Bruton’s attempt at a VTOL craft — while its very tall structure is certainly rocket-like in form — uses not combustible gas or solid fuel, but instead relies on a trio of electric ducted fans (EDFs). This enables it to take off (and hopefully land) in a vertical orientation. Besides a rather awkward balancing challenge because of its height, the “rocket” has to rely on a servo thrust-vectoring setup to compensate for the non counter-rotating EDFs. Control is handled by an Arduino Mega which actuates the three fans (one of which is fixed, while the other two can pivot), along with a second Arduino and IMU in the nose cone to sense orientation.
While this certainly wouldn’t make it out of the earth’s atmosphere, it’s still a very innovative design. Conceivably, the same sort of concept could be used with rocket fuel to actually allow it to take off and land in a configuration that doesn’t rely on our atmosphere. As of now, the device is only been tested in Bruton’s lab, however he plans a test with YouTuber Ivan Miranda in (who we’ve seen here before) the near future. He has come up with his own vertical “rocket” build, so it should be interesting to see what happens between the two of them!