Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Doppler radar view of the Antares mishap.

When I saw a similar image on TV, it looked like the CATO had occurred down range on the other side of Chincoteague, which didn't seem to agree with the video. Since this radar sees the smoke, I guess it will move with the wind.

Orbital's Antares rocket CATOes!

Here is a capture of the NASA TV feed.

The local weather just showed how the weather radar out of Dover spotted the location of the event based on the density of the smoke field. I will try to find that image. It appeared it CATOed close Chincoteague. Scary for those who live down there! So far, there are just reports of houses shaking. I'm sure there is going to be plenty of news coverage in the coming hours/days. Let the Failure Review Board Commence!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Time of First Sighting Map for today's Antares/Orb-3 launch

"NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at 6:45 p.m. EDT today, Oct. 27. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:45 p.m."

Friday, October 24, 2014

New solid propellant separates the fuel from the oxidizer (update)

Update: I missed the Penn State connection. This may be nano-aluminum/water propellant, aka ALICE. Follow that tag for my previous posts.

"Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.

"What we're trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that's both very high-energy, as well as very safe,"said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist. "Typically, when you look at a propellant that's high-performance, it's not as safe a material."

Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

"Because the fuel is physically separated from the oxidizer," said Tappan, "you can utilize higher-energy propellants."

After years of development and bench-top static tests, the new rocket design was recently flight tested at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center's Socorro launch site, part of New Mexico Tech. The new rocket design was tested against conventional, high-energy commercial rockets to enable a comparison of data gathered on velocity, altitude, burn rate, and other parameters.

"You don't have to do much more than a few seconds of YouTube searching to find numerous failed rocket tests," said Tappan. "So, I had that worry in the back of my mind. But once we saw that successful launch go off, it was the culmination of a lot of years of research, it was very satisfying to see it fly."

Researchers will now work to scale-up the design, as well as explore miniaturization of the system, in order to exploit all potential applications that would require high-energy, high-velocity, and correspondingly high safety margins." - Los Alamos National Laboratory

[spotted via the Rocketry Blog]

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Launch Report 2014-13

Location: MDRA, Central Sod Farm (ESL-196)
Weather: 60's, sunny turning to cloudy, wind 0-5 mph at ground level, lower up high.
Total flights: Today - 6; YTD - 105
Total motors: Today - 6; YTD - 95 (if you count water rockets - 112)
Motors by class YTD: H2O-17, uHybrid-1, MMX-1, A-4, B-6, C-22, D-7, E-20, F-18, G-13, H-2

Nice rocket day...not much else to say past the logs below.

My Flights:
  1. Shai Hulud on a G75M-7 - Lots of wiggle after burn-out. 'Chute didn't open. Soybean landing with 2 broken legs. I'm thinking about cannibalizing this rocket.
  2. Inductor on an E9-4 - FAIL! My Inductor wasn't stable and ended in a landshark. Bill flew his twice with only slightly better results. Very slightly.
  3. Hat of Death on an F15-P - Lots more weather cocking than the prior F15 flight. Hit the phone line behind the flight line. Twang.
  4. Talos 2 on a G74-9 - Nice flight with apogee perfect ejection. Glad the beans were dried out.
  5. El Tubo Loco  on an G64-4 - Nice flight with apogee perfect ejection. 
  6. Art Applewhite Stealth D5 on a C6-3 - Nice and spinny.
My photo album is [here].