Another LDRS 31 has come and gone. As usual, the hosting club put together a really nice event. The first day was much like my first day at LDRS 30: hot and dusty. You can always tell the weather by how my feet look at the end of the day. I was scheduled to launch the Pizza rocket for the Discovery channel first thing Saturday morning. Of course, I had a major last minute electronics failure. My WRC+ handheld unit decided it didn’t want to turn on. It’s a matched pair to the transceiver in the rocket, which meant I had to replace the electronics entirely. A quick trip to Wildman’s trailer, and I was back in business with a missileworks PET2+ timer. I quickly built a sled to install it into the nosecone of the pizza, and reprogrammed it to go off about a half a second after engine burnout. I didn’t have the right equipment to install a power switch, so I opted for the “twist and go” method – this may have been my downfall.
The good news is the Pizza had a great flight. I wasn’t too surprised at how well it flew, as I had at least 30 computer simulations before this launch. To build the simulations, I had to make a lot of assumptions (guesses…) because the underlying software was really built for traditional rockets, and wasn’t totally confident in the math, or aerodynamics. Since the Discovery channel was filming me as I was watching the rocket, I wasn’t able to video, or photo the launch although – I did get some video of the setup, and the discovery channel film crew before the flight
Luckily, several other people were taking photo’s that day, and Chris Dondanville was nice enough to upload all of his photo’s to flickr. Below is a nice burst of shots of the Pizza rocket launch
The bad news is the new electronics malfunctioned, and the parachute failed to come out. Either I programmed the electronics wrong (unlikely – I checked the programming after the launch), or the battery failed. I didn’t anticipate that the rocket would sit idle on the pad for about two hours in 100+ degree heat before the launch. I opted to use a radio shack private label brand nine volt battery. Probably a bad choice given the environment.
The rocket is very light for it’s size (about 30 lbs), with a lot of drag, and it’s built like a tank. Crash landing had absolutely no effect on the rocket that I could find – it’s ready for the next flight. At the end of heat one, I was in the lead of the odd roc competition, primarily because every rocket before mine either cato’d, or disintegrated in flight. I can’t reveal whether or not I won