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February State-of-the-union update.

Why I haven’t been posting much recently, new material and special news.

Hello, few people who are subscribed, follow us on twitter or just generally check back fairly often!

I know I keep saying I’ll get around to an update and today is that day. I just thought that you guys were owed an explanation as to why theres been so little material posted of late. The short answer is: work.

Like I say on our About page,  I’m just one guy running the show and I work five days a week – except that for the last month, I’ve been working six days and I’ve been studying the other day. Essentially my company’s year begins on the 1st of March, so any remaining paid holiday has to be taken in February, so effectively I’ve been working to cover other people taking their holidays.

The good news is that this week its my turn – so I’m being paid to sit here in snowy Kristiansand with my fiancee instead of dealing with the day to day of running a hotel bar.

So over the next few days it will be business as (un)usual with a bunch of posts and some site updates.

The site updates are largely back end things, but you might notice a few little tweaks here and there – the addition of a link to our G+ page in the footer and that sort of thing. I’m thinking of experimenting with some Amazon ads in the sidebar of each post but that depends on how attention grabbing they are compared to the actual post content.

I’ve also commissioned a logo for the site to replace the “logo” image I use now (an image of NGC1929) on social media sites and to replace the simplistic banner image (the “Astronomy Aggregator” text) at the top of the page. That should (hopefully) be replaced before the end of the week.

Finally,  I might be building my own rocket engine.

Yes, you read that right.

As part of my degree I have to write a dissertation. My university allows projects that you come up with by yourself, so I’ve said that I want to design, make and test a small rocket engine. Whether I get to do it or not comes down to finding a suitable site to test it and complying with all sorts of health and safety regulations, but in the meantime alongside updating the site I’m doing a lot of background reading and calculations.

I managed to find time for a *very* quick and dirty flow simulation test a couple of weeks ago.


Flow simulation test - an Aerospike rocket exhausting to atmospheric pressure

Flow simulation test – an Aerospike rocket exhausting to atmospheric pressure


Like I said, its very quick and very dirty so dont read too much into it. The end result will probably be a traditional bell exhaust rocket. I plan to put a project log on another website of mine, but significant milestones I’ll also post here.

That is just about it for the February state of the union update. Stay tuned for Astro news.

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About The Author
My name's Chris Pounds. I started Astronomy Aggregator in 2012 as a hobby site for my interests in spaceflight and astronomy. I'm finishing up an MSc. in Aerospace Engineering. My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering with a final year dissertation focussed on performance characteristics of aerospike rocket nozzles.

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