(Cuyahoga Falls, OH)
OK, SO I’ve been horrifically late posting this update. It’s due to the latest Nala mission that required a LOT of data sifting…moreon that later.
ALS-052, April 27, 2013 – Harmon field.
The first of two reports…Nala1 Mission ALS-052. This was the most picture perfect launch almost ever. Flying on an Aerotech F-40, Nala rocket flew straight as an arrow to a height of 966 feet with a maximum velocity of 225 MPH. I did not video this at all. Just watched, and it was wonderful!
Mission ALS-053 was next. Same day.
This flight was as strange as it gets. Nala1’s F-40 motor chuffed a bit (not unusual), came up to pressure, and the mission was underway. Then about 100 feet or so in the air, Nala1 suddenly “turns” almost 45 degrees, and flies off at an angle towards dense brush! Recovery took a while as it was tough to find the upper half of Nala rocket in the VERY VERY dense dry brush. But we did it.
This flight WAS recorded both on the ground, and with Nala’s on-board camera.
What I found (after closely analyzing the video for quite some time) was that the motor began to “chuff” again when Nala1 was halfway up the launch rod…then again after departure…this time the chuffing was so bad the motor nearly stopped burning…at that point, the rocket began to decelerate and FALL. At this point, the motor came back to life again..but Nala1 was no longer pointed straight up…she was at a 45 degree angle. The remainder of the burn took her south of the flying field, and over the dense brush, where the parachutes were deployed.
Maximum altitude was only 620 feet, and she was moving pretty slow, about 160 MPH peak speed.
After ALS-052, Nala1 was brought into the shop for some design changes to incorporate some of the new ways I’ve been handling main parachute baffle designs in the Nesaru and Comanche rockets. This design will greatly improve Nal1’s sometimes problematic baffle system with a much more reliable design. Nala1 should be back on the launch schedule late July / early August.