Monday, March 18, 2013

Level 2 Certification Attempt 1

By the title, some might be able to guess how my Level 2 Certification flight went. I passed the written test, but the rocket did not pass the flight test. "Sheila", as my rocket ended up being named that day, had a clean launch with a good trajectory. You can see in the lift off video and photos that it looks like the rocket turned arced a little after lift-off. The rocket did turn into the wind a little, but not by much. The exaggerated image is from the wind blowing the exhaust gasses. The problem occurred at parachute deployment. The delay charge went off at the right time, but with such force that it ripped the shock cord off of the centering ring in the body tube. The nose cone and payload section descended on the parachute and were recovered about 3/4 mile from the launch pad. The body tube, however, fell straight down from where the parachute deployed and suffered substantial damage. Needless to say, I will retry for Level 2 certification at the UROC April launch. The rocket is salvageable and will be repaired. BUT, the payload had an altimeter in it, and being that the payload was lowered gently by a parachute, we got altitude data! Sheila (Liberty 3 by Giant Leap Rocketry with an added payload bay) was launched on a Cessaroni J270 and reached an altitude of 4414 ft. This is 75 ft, or 1.7 % lower than the altitude predicted by the OpenRocket software, which is REALLY GOOD considering the wind at the launch site that would have decreased the total altitude reached by a small margin.
The broken body tube. Notice the detached fin and crumple zone in the body.

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