Yesterday, the eleventh, the team went to a small field by Butner, NC to test our fully assembled subscale rocket. The subscale rocket is about half as thick and tall and the real rocket, but it flies similarly. The rocket flew to about 960 feet, a little under expectations. The real rocket is to fly as close to a mile high as possible. The rocket landed in one piece and recovery went smoothly. Below is a slow motion video of just the launch, and more videos may be uploaded at a later date.
Last week, after we finished our subscale, we tested the black powder charges that release the drogue parachute (which we don't have on the subscale), and the main parachute. Both were an astounding success! The reason for these tests are to make sure the rocket will separate correctly and that the parachute will come out.
Over the last week and our school's winter break, we have spent long hours working on our subscale, which we finally finished and prepared Friday. Refer to the subtitles on each picture for more information on them.
Last weekend, we began work on the subscale of our rocket. A subscale is simply the same rocket, just scaled down, so we can easily test it. We did many things, including painting the un-cut fins with wood filler, and sanding them down to make them as smooth as possible. We also cut most of our tubes, and labeled them accordingly.
Today, we worked on the fins! Both our sub-scale and full-scale rockets need fins, so we decided that instead of spending hundreds of dollars on fins, we could very cheaply buy each material and glue them together. We are making about six fins for each rocket, we only need four, but extras are always good. The fins are made of Balsa wood, a material not known for its strength, so we are adding a layer or two of carbon fiber, and a smooth layer of fiberglass as a cover. To allow these layers to adhere, we are applying an epoxy, an adhesive mixture of two chemicals.
Over the weekend, a few members of our team went out to watch model rocket launches by various members of NC Rocketry, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and operation of amateur high power rocketry. Dr. LaCosse and Mr. Morey both launched their rockets. These are not the team's rockets.
Today, we decided to measure the elasticity of the shock cords for the drogue and main parachutes. The shock cord needs to be able hold the weight of the rocket under the parachute. When the drogue parachute, which slows our rocket down but not so much that it drifts, opens, it must suddenly carry the weight of the rocket. After the main parachutes open, allowing the rocket to land safely, an even greater weight must be supported. For this reason, both shock cords must be able to hold a large weight.
This blog will be updated once a week over the course of the 2018-2019 school year, detailing our progress. It will be signed at the end by a member of the team.