Rocket Racing League Almost Podracing

The first exhibition race for the Rocket Racing League is scheduled for August 1st. Small planes powered by rocket engines will fly several laps around a special course. Pilots will wear special 3D helmets that outline the route for them.

In the full version of the competition, racers will switch their engines on and off to conserve their small fuel supply. Because the course is necessarily spread out, spectators will watch the action on special displays.


(Rocket Racing League video)

Now, compare the Rocket Racing League video shown above to the Star Wars podracing video from The Phantom Menace shown below.


(Star Wars Pod Racing video)

I think we're getting pretty close to podracing...

In the movie, a podracer typically consists of a small open-cockpit gondola pulled by two or more jet engines. The jet engines are loosely coupled to each other with power couplings consisting of plasma discharges; the jet engines are firmly anchored to the "pod" with cables. The extreme demands of controlling this unstable device, and piloting it around reasonable obstacles (like narrow canyons) and unreasonable obstacles (like hostile Tusken Raiders) usually excluded human pilots.

I'd also note that in the movie, Anakin Skywalker was forced to stop and restart his engines while in mid-flight. Also, spectators used special screens to view the race.


(Special podracing view screen)

See Rocket Racing League Sets Date for Exhibition Race; thanks to Moira for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/16/2008)

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