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Jun
14
2010

Win a 150 dollar gift certificate, rocket scientists!

Kids these days, with their cellular talky-boxes and iNewton doodimahickeys. They don't seem to know how to live without the internet or latest gadget--and that's fine, 'cause neither do we, but the real problem is how goshdanged smug they are about it.

So, you insufferable tweens, think we didn't grow up with super awesome shiny beepy-time toys, too?

BEHOLD, THE BIG TRAK.

Released in 1979, the Big Trak could remember 16 commands such as: go forward 10 lengths, annoy the family dog with a phaser (see video for example), drop a payload, and start it all over again. Much more practical than an iPad.

Not too long ago us nostalgic adult-types at ThinkGeek carried the BigTrak Jr, a desktop version of Big Trak, which remembered 32 commands and also had a camera and a rocket launcher--and then they stopped making them. Sad panda.

However, we bring glad tidings! The BigTrak Jr is coming back this summer (sign up here for an email update when it comes back in stock!), and we're so excited we decided to send Timmy up in a rocket. (Yes, this is normal.)

This week Timmy will be strapped into a rocket somewhere in the Arizona desert, to be launched along with (but not in this) special edition commemorative ThinkGeek BigTrak Jr rocket over there to the right.

We've told Timmy this is all part of his training to be an astronaut (NASA hasn't actually returned our calls yet) so he seems to think he's going to at least orbit Earth once--but he won't actually go that far, and we'll know 'cause there will be an altimeter on board as well.

Which is where you (and the prizes) come in: Guess how high Timmy will go in his rocket by Thursday, June 17 at 12 noon EDT and if you're the closest without going over, you'll win a $150 ThinkGeek gift certificate. And because these things are always close, we'll throw in two $100 runners-up gift certificates. We should know our winner by Friday, June 18, at which time we will have video (omg) from Timmy who will (zomg) parachute out of the rocket.

UPDATE THURSDAY 6/17 12 noon ET: Entry form is closed! We're tallying results and editing pics of Timmy's epic flight right now. Keep your feed readers or whatever tuned--we'll post the winners tomorrow afternoon!

ROCKET SCIENTISTS, here are your clues: Timmy's rocket is 6" in diameter, 9 feet long, and will weigh about 20 pounds at launch. It will be powered by one K class and two I class rocket engines.

Please don't leave your guess in the comments! It will not count in the contest! But you can comment there with other predictions, like if Timmy will pee his pants on the way down.

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Comments

meaningless icon! How sensitive is the altimeter?
BlueIntegral said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! BlueIntegral, It's accurate within 1 foot, but we might be getting more information on the rocket and thus will know more about how high it might go. Check back soon!
CarrieGouldin said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Is there a specific type of fuel going into it? I've heard of hybrid k-classes.
SuKahime said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Poor Timmy :(
decarillion said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! SuKahime, AFAIK, there is no hybrid engine involved in the rocket. (There's no room for a naked lady in a vat of goo, anyways! That's just silly.)
CarrieGouldin said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! I think Timmy can take it. He was pretty stoic during all that astronaut training in FL, though he did get into the donuts a few times.
saram said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Since I live in Arizona, is there any chance I could actually go and watch the launch?
Sathen said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! While we often imagine Timmy to be am amazing creature who can shrink and enlarge as the situation calls for.... we know he has has to have earth dimentions. How big IS he?!?!
6thgradersrule said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! can you specify a bit more on the power of the engines?
modest mouse said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! wooohooo goooo timmy...see ya when ya land...if yer in one piece that is..lol
merrique said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! It's going to be a balmy 107 here on Friday(according to BBWeather). Is there a chance of engine failure?
AZMary said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Do we know how much Timmy and his parachute weigh?
Whogirl63 said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! *deep breath* Sathen: No, sorry, too late for that kinda thing. 6thgradersrule: He is approximately 9" tall and infinitely awesome. modest mouse: Nope, sorry, that's as good as our specs from our rocket-friend get. AZMary: Gah, hope not!! Whogirl63: No, but the whole rocket is about 20 pounds, all told.
CarrieGouldin said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Years ago, in a HS shop class, we were launching model rockets for fun/science. In my utter geekiness back then, I had a Big Trak, and a trailer, And a whole model rocket kit. Whattaya get? Robotic rocket transport and launcher. I built the launchpad into the dumper with a mercury tilt switch (when you could still buy them in Radio Crack). It drove out, turned the whole trailer a few feet sideways, faced the audience, and fired its lazergun in a ten shot countdown... up goes the dumper and... woosh! :-) Awesomeness. I'm sure I could find witnesses if necessary.)
StrykerIncognito said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! One last question, since the rocket uses 3 different engines, is it 3 stage or are they all igniting at the same time? I need to know for my calculations *adjusts glasses*. Ooh, actually, do we get bonus points if we do all of the math on the ThinkGeek slide rule?
BlueIntegral said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! BlueIntegral, not sure about your stage question--you will have to use your logic and/or advanced knowledge of rocketry. Definite bonus points if you use a slide rule for ANYTHING.
CarrieGouldin said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Lets hope Timmy's parachute opens, that would be devastating.
Dr. Dorroh said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! i've got a couple of questions: 1: will this be the first documented launch of a Timmy? B: after the launch, can i get Timmy's autograph?
phalkon said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! can you specify a bit more on the power of the engines?
modest mouse said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Could we get a ballpark estimate of how high we expect this thing to go (so I can make sure I'm in the right order of magnitude)? Also, what's the connection between the Big Track and the rocket? I think I missed that.
brokenimage321 said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! yeah i also live in AZ.... would be cool to go and watch.... what do ya say?
damianrendon said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Does the winner also get a Big Trak jr.?
Dr. Octogonapus said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Monkeys and rockets get me all goosepimpily! Good times!
CosmicAudioChic said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! So if we're giving bonus points for a slide rule, what would we get using an abacus? ;-)
gemvirg said this 1509 days ago.
meaningless icon! Did you have to get a F.A.A. waiver for this launch?
nimda79 said this 1508 days ago.
meaningless icon! Hopefully you will play Rocketman by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes during launch. Or...Major Tom by David Bowie!
psychoelf said this 1508 days ago.

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