Monday, August 20, 2012

We Have Liftoff!

Historical results in wargaming are desirable, n’est pas? But are they in model rocketry?

No, I haven’t completed my Mercury Redstone model yet. But in a not-so-intentional historical recreation, two members of my flight crew had to, um, relieve themselves on the launch pad. Of course, they are both 3 years old, so perhaps they can be forgiven.

But full “flight suits” or not, Friday marked a reasonably successful launch session, the first since that highlighted in this blog earlier this spring. The weather was nearly perfect. Just a few light clouds, temps in the low 70s, and a light breeze out of the west/northwest that became calmer as the evening progressed. Here’s the details on the five launches conducted:
·      Orange plastic-fin rocket: Pretty much the perfect launch. Used an A-8-3, it flew straight and true, deployed the parachute perfectly, and drifted due east straight down the middle of the recovery field.
My fearless flight assistants!
·      Yankee: First launch for this small rocket I built this summer. Again an A-8-3, and man, did it fly! This is the only rocket I have with streamers instead of a parachute, and deployment failed. I’m not sure if it’s because the wadding was too tight or what. The motor was missing on recovery, so perhaps that ejected itself rather than pushing the streamers out? Anyway, damage was only one broken off fin, which was recovered and reattached.
·      AstroBee: The first launch of one of my restored rockets from when I was a kid. I had to put on a new nosecone and replace a fin, but it looked good. And it launched well, too. Another A-8-3, and another near perfect launch. Good parachute ejection, and while it came down a little fast, there was no damage.
·      Flower: This is the one I built for the girls, because it has flowers on it. It’s my biggest rocket, so I used a B-4-4. Man, did it motor. This one drifted a little south of east, to the point I was afraid it would come down in the treeline. Fortunately, it fell just short, maybe 15-20 feet.
That's either the wadding, or a UFO.
·      Payloader: Unfortunately, the last one was maybe the worst, but still OK. This was another restored rocket, having put on a new nosecone and two new fins. The launch looked good, as an A-8-3 carried it nearly straight up, but then nearly as quickly it came straight down, landing less than 50 yards away. Parachute failure again. This is a smaller tube, and it’s a tight fit. Still, damage was minimal, with just a lost fin, which I did not find. It’s simple to replace, though.
Another good launch.

My "recovery system."
The parachute never fully deployed, and I thought the fin was lost
 on impact, but it appears to be already missing.
I still have two more rockets for the girls to finish (more on those later), along with the Redstone. So hopefully I get at least one more night this fall.

No comments:

Post a Comment