(July 10, 2010 mission update)

OK…We’ve had some bonus missions, and haven’t had much advanced warning to post about them on the website, so this is a catchup post…

July 3rd 2010 – Pichman’s Farm

Artemis Booster #1 (Big Red) had a bonus mission on July3rd.  There was no flight agenda for this rocket, and we were thinking a series of pre-night launches would be a great way to retire the rocket, and place it in our rocketry museum.   ALS024, 25, and 26 were planned.

ALS024 lifted off for a perfect flight to 600 feet, and parachute deployment.  At about 45 feet from the ground, Big Red was snagged in a tree…and it is still stuck there as of this writing.   Needless to say, planned “fun” missions ALS 25, and 26 were cancelled, and re-assigned to the next missions.

July 10, 2010 – Harmon Flying Field

Another bonus day, so we quickly lined up a mission consisting of four flights on two different Artemis Boosters, #2 and #3.

Both boosters were testing changes to the ejection baffle system.  Booster #3 was flying a new heat shield for the ejection baffle that is much sturdier (and lighter) than the system we’ve been using.   Booster #2 was testing the same heat shield PLUS some changes to the inner baffle designed to make cleanup of the system easier.

In addition to the heat shield, Artemis booster #3 was also assigned with the task of flying the first “full load” launch.  We loaded the payload bay with a 9 volt battery, which is almost the heaviest weight the rocket will ever fly.  Liftoff weight in this configuration is 11.9 oz.  Two flights were planned.  ALS025 and ALS027.

The engine chosen for these flights was the Aerotech E15 “White Lightning”.   Liftoff was flawless, and the rocket carried its payload to around 1500 feet.  Deployment was on the money, and to everyone’s amusement, the rocket deployed its chute right in the middle of a thermal.  The rocket “hung” in the same place for a few seconds before decending.  The rocket encountered two more thermals on the way down.   The rocket finally landed about 850 feet downrange from the launch pad.

Mission ALS025 is underway launching on an E15W

It’s second flight – Mission ALS027 – was also flawless using same configuration as ALS025 except for a small passenger…a four leaf clover MTMA president Mark Recktenwald found growing near the launch control tent.  We loaded this “passenger” in the payload compartment, and “let ‘er rip”.   The rocket was recovered about 1200 feet downrange.

Booster #2 also had two missions.  It’s flight agenda was to test the full list changes to the ejection baffle system.  If these changes proved successful they should greatly simplify the “turn around” process needed to return individual Artemis boosters to flight ready status.  The end result was the new baffle system met — and greatly exceeded expectations.

The next four pictures of mission ALS028 are a cool record in still frames of the launch / flight…

July 10th ended with the Artemis program clearing two major milestones.  A great way to put July 3rd behind us!

Next Artemis launch window will be announced soon.

(((  )))