Launch Readiness Review and Rocket Fair
We finally made it to Huntsville. After a day full of tours and lectures, we went to the conference room of the hotel and completed our Launch Readiness Review (LRR). The LRR is a form of last-minute check, where experts from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) come in and check our rocket for any errors or things that pose a safety hazard. Their word is final, or you do not fly. After a comprehensive check, we received one suggestion but nothing we were required to do before we launched our rocket.
The next day, we set up a booth with the other teams in the SLI Rocket Fair. Staff from the Marshal Space Flight Center (MSFC) and members of all teams walked around to learn about other projects and view other rockets.
After many months of hard work since the beginning of the year, we have made it to Huntsville with a successful launch. The rocket hit apogee at 4940 feet; below our target, but considering the wind, pretty good. The wind came back to bite us, however, when our rocket was dragged by the main parachute's catching of the wind for just under a mile across three properties. Below are the camera videos, gps data, and further payload information.
We were also interviewed on NASA TV. They recorded this interview and our launch.
As you can see, the flight successful although the payloads didn't work perfectly. Below is a video of the full flight, including a long drag of the rocket until the camera ran out of battery at the end. Strangely, camera one began shaking when the payload started up.
Please click "read more" for a continued description of the flights and our time at Huntsville.
You can notice from these vides that the rocket did not spin for the first few seconds, and then began to spin and continued to spin for duration of its flight. However, if you are paying close attention, you may notice that it spun to the left, the opposite of the way it naturally spun. This was caused mostly by the flywheel's ineffective control of the spin late in the flight. It lost control after the planed 90 degree spin to face the crowd. Early in the flight, the RAD payload functioned as it should have.
The ILD payload did not even deploy. The bulkhead that separates it from the main parachute got jammed, preventing the bulkhead from coming out and releasing the balloons. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, since the rocket was dragged for just under a mile anyway.
When the pads were declared "safe," a small group of people from our team went to search the rocket. Their search carried them near a forest and another property. While the rest of the team was waiting for them, I went to get a hot dog. As I was walking over, I saw our rocket all banged up in the back of a truck. The guy handed it to me and left. The rocket's flight was great, but after being dragged for just under a mile, the paint was pretty banged up.
Banquet and Awards!
After the launch, we enjoyed a huge dinner with all the other teams under the Saturn Five. For dinner, we had a quick meal of hamburgers. Afterwards, awards began. Out of the three peer-selected awards (best-looking rocket, team spirit, and best rocket fair display), we got none. The remaining awards were best website and closest to 5,280 feet. We won the best website award, selected by a panel of NASA employees. Thank you to all of you reading this for supporting us.
Our team failed to make top 25 in TARC this year, so we will no longer be able to do the NASA Student Launch Competition. We are looking into other options, including Battle of the Rockets and MAV. I will get back to you on this.
The last report is due this Friday, April 29. The Post-Launch Assessment Review (PLAR) will be the focus of our team until then.