Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A day at FAR - FAR - Away

Not really all that far, but, FAR - Friends of Amateur Rocketry (an organization and a place) is a few hours away from Lake Arrowhead and also a fair distance from anything else, i.e. igniting rockets that can and do explode.  Click here for the Album of the FAR facility

Preparing rocket at FAR - Friend of Amateur Rocketry
Students preparing a 2 stage rocket for launch
The Students working at the site today (Sun. June 2, 2013) had camped out at the site so they would be right there ready to go.  We left Lake Arrowhead at 5:30 in the morning and arrived a bit after 9AM with a stop for breakfast.  We arrived and the students were busily working on their rockets for flight.

Four teams were present, one each of sizable rockets from Stanford and from UCSD and I think the other two were also from USCD.  We were called in for a safety briefing which was we needed to be in the bunkers for 3 of the rockets.  Stanford was supposed to go first but they still needed a couple hours to load the nitrous oxide into their rocket.

So the first launch was a small, 1 1/2 foot tall solid rocket that took 5 tries to ignite and so I missed the lift off in the end but did catch the parachute returning to the ground.Click here for parachute landing Then the other smaller rocket, about 3 feet long I did video and which exploded soon after lift off. Click here for exploding rocket

I made a point to catch up to Dave Dunlop who I met at the ISDC conference the previous weekend and we talked for a while.  We were out in the sun and then we decided to sit in the shade of the stairs of the Vertical motor test stand.  We were talking while still, now 3 hours into the nitrous oxide fill, the Stanford rocket started making sounds of escaping gas and we noticed everyone was gone from their launch stand.  We headed immediately for the bunkers just as the call to return to the bunkers was announced.  I was able to zoom the camera in and got a nice video, albeit low resolution, video of it leaving the launch pad.  We lost site of it quickly and while it was supposed to be retrieved, the electronics didn't broadcast as expected, according to Jerry, likely because the second stage didn't ignite and it crashed early and was considered un-retrievable. Click here for the Stanford video

We finished with going into the bunker for the Vertical test stand and a few pictures from the top of the stand and us on it.  We left just as the last USCD rocket was loaded on the rail.  It would take them a few hours to load the propellant.  It flew just fine, but the parachute failed and the it experienced a "hard off-runway landing".  Click here for the activities of the day

No comments:

Post a Comment