Sunday, December 13, 2015

First Flight of Black Beauty

Readying the rocket.

November 21th, 2015 we headed to the FAR launch site - Friends of Amateur Rocketry - to make our first flight.  The rocket is a Sonic 3100 from US Rockets you can see the performance specs at their homepage.  We used the 29mm mount for our first flight and there will be more where evenutally we will try the 54mm motors too.

We had a little more work to do and you can see that as part of the previous post - click here if you missed it.  It was a very busy day at the Range with multiple rockets by several groups.

Finally we were ready and everyone headed to the bunkers.  See video below or Click here for the photo album to see the story in pictures and videos.

Spoiler alert in the next paragraph if you haven't watched the video:

The flight itself was good but with a less than graceful landing.  The first separation either occurred early or with too much force and the tail section fell separate from the main body and nose of the rocket and we had to go pick up the two separate sections.  You can see the recovery and the autopsy videos in the Flickr album.  The real casualty was Al, the triceranaut and the videos kept cutting off just as we would get to that part.  So we have to rebuild parts and then try again.  Current launch date, Dec. 19th.   Click here for the second flight.

Preparing for Launch

This summer it was time to stop watching the flights and get in on the action.  This was facilitated by US Rockets providing the components in exchange for our help on a larger project.  The goal is several flights with the Featheweight brand altimeter to deploy two chutes, record the flight and to record the performance of John Newman's rocket motors.

The bright pink fins, squares and nose are to improve visibility and to see when it is rotating around the long axis.  Davie took the lead on construction of the rocket and I took the lead on the altimeter.

Rocket Parts
I put the altimeter on a breadboard and used the Featherweight altimeter simulation program to be sure that we understood how to program the altimeter and that it would be firing the squibs on the simulations.  We had some trouble with the Raven 2 units so we swapped them out for the Raven 3's.  Between other obligations we finally assembled the Sonic 3100 rocket in November and set up for our first flight at the FAR rocket range, November 21st.

Click here for the photo albums and videos.

And Click here for the next post, the launch.