2022-01-18

Well, that took a bit longer than I expected! Last weekend, I finally launched and recovered the 250 lbf LOX/kerosene rocket out at FAR, the Friends of Amateur Rocketry site in CA. I'm still organizing the photos/videos and analyzing data but the primary and backup altimeters show a max altitude of around 10800 ft AGL with a burn time of 10 seconds. The drogue deployed at apogee and the main was released at 1000 ft AGL as planned. All parts were successfully recovered intact which is a really lucky outcome. Yes, I did a lot of testing but sometimes you get either good or bad luck and apparently I ended up with good luck.

Part of the delay was that I purchased an airplane kit, a Van's RV-10 which I started on in Dec 2020. I worked on it through Apr 2021 and then I realized that if I didn't stop working on the airplane and fly the rocket, it would never fly and I would have wasted all these years of hard work. I was also working on my instrument rating last year which took a fair amount of time. I started back on the rocket in Sep 2021 and made a giant TODO list by month to get to an arbitrary launch date of Jan 15, 2022. I finished with about a week to spare which I used to start organizing and pack for the trip to CA. The remaining tasks included a Kalman filter for drogue/main deployment, onboard/ground data recording, procedures, general flight and ground S/W cleanup, and last minute testing/checkout. It's amazing how many tasks don't really need to be done when you start comparing priorities.

I posted a few pics in the Tests section for now but I'll add some plots, more photos, and videos soon. In the meantime, there are some nice videos on YouTube that folks posted of the launch.


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