Sunday, May 25, 2008

5.25 Sunday the First

J went back down to the rocket launch today. We went down to join him this afternoon. It was a sunny day with even less wind than yesterday. The rockets were fun to watch. I haven't quite seen all the possible things that can happen to go wrong yet, but we added a few more today. One separation - (the shock cord broke), leaving the rocket to plummet and the parachute to drift away in a rising thermal. (I've seen the separation before, often, but never the parachute on a rising breeze mounting higher out of sight). One rocket that fizzed and popped it's way up the rail, and then sank slowly back down the rail. One rocket that arced over before the ejection charge fired, having the ejection charge finally fire about 10 feet off the ground and drive it into the ground firmly. One rocket that had the top of the motor explode off before the rocket got off the rail, setting the entire rocket on fire and burning it to slag before they could get the fire extinguisher out to the pad.

And a whole bunch of rockets with pretty much textbook launches and recoveries. Very pretty.
J had a bunch of new rockets, and a couple of old ones. He mostly goes for low power rockets, and recently, mostly boost-glide rockets. (They shoot up on the engine and then glide down rather than being on a parachute or streamer.) He does a lot of his own designs and some of them always get the crowd going. The first time people see a couple of them, they think something's gone wrong - then the next time they see them, they poke their friends and say "watch this! - no, it's supposed to do that" as the rockets fly into pieces. It is a trifle strenuous watching for six different pieces to come down so that they can be recovered, but it is fun to see. He's got two different models that make six pieces each now. It was a good day - all the pieces came home with us!

I did make everyone put on sunscreen (including me), but...

Yes, I came home sun burnt. That long hike out chasing a rocket did me in.

No comments: